Multiple award-winning tech mogul and Group Managing Director/Co-Founder of Routelink Group, Femi Adeoti, has said the recent spike in the volume of mobile-based transactions in Nigeria shows that the country is ready and ripe for cash-less-based transactions.
The Nigeria Inter-Banking Settlement Systems had in January this year noted a 125 per cent increase in the volume of mobile transactions in the country compared to the same period last year. Reacting to this development, Adeoti, who was immediate past Managing Director and CEO, African Operations, Inlaks, said the Nigerian populace is ready to adopt financial solutions, though the appropriate term and realistic expectation at this time should be “cash lite.”
To him, there are immense opportunities for investment as Nigeria’s current banking and digital payment infrastructure is inadequate to cater to the expected growth in the volume of digital/electronic-based transactions. “While we are right to celebrate an increase as significant as 125 per cent, the failures recorded show that we could have achieved more.
“So, the major implications are that we are ready to adopt cashless initiatives, but all the needed infrastructure must be in place. It is also important that all the necessary stakeholders are well-represented, informed, and involved in all the processes leading to any new policy on the cashless drive,” he said. He explained that Nigeria’s central bank’s cashless policy is good and the benefits numerous as it will provide faster economic growth harping on the need for the policies to be right, and the implementations properly executed.
“To achieve a smooth transition into a cashless payment system, all stakeholders must be involved there must be representations from different stakeholding concerns banks, digital payment companies, telecommunication companies, government sectors/parastatals, manufacturing sector, retail business sector, representatives from rural areas, etc.
“There has to be an assessment of the needs of each of the pressure groups for example, the needs in the rural areas will be different from the urban, and the needs in the eastern part of the country might be different from that of the North. The needs for infrastructure on the bank side might be different from that of the digital payment companies etc.
“There is a need for collaboration and partnerships – The policies must be jointly reviewed and drafted by the critical stakeholders bearing in mind the needs and resource requirements of various interest groups. The plan should involve a process of ensuring proper education and awareness of the policies across different regions in the country depending on the identified needs.
There is also the need to conduct a review of existing infrastructure to ensure adequacy before the policies take effect.” “It’s also important that the stakeholders have enough time to ensure that adequate resources are provided in terms of infrastructure and human support.
Then there should be a continuous process of reviewing the impact of the policies and improvements where necessary,” he added. He lauded the telco-led mobile money approach, which has kicked off in Nigeria. This, he said, would have a huge impact on the mobile money aspect as well as digital payment services as a whole.
Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria licensed some telcos under a license category called Payment Service Banks (PSB). These licensed PSBs are to set up similar structures as that of MPESA in Kenya.