Nigeria lags behind its peers in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of mobile money
Chances of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) meeting its target of having 500,000 mobile money agents to serve about 105 million adult Nigerians by the year 2020 looks increasingly remote, as financial institutions in the country have so far enrolled only 65,753 of such agents.
This means that with less than two years to the target date, the industry still needs to enrol about 434,247 mobile money agents.
According to latest data obtained from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), the total number of enrolled mobile money agents in the country stood at 38,416 as at December 2018. With Q1 2019 figures released by NIBSS recently showing that a total of 27,337 of the agents were enrolled in the first three months of this year, it means that the nation now has about 65,753 officially registered mobile money agents.
The NIBSS data also shows that the number of mobile money customers recorded in the industry at the end of 2018 and in the first quarter of this year, stood at 8.5 million and 2.3 million respectively. This means that the total number of mobile money customers in the country currently stands at 10.8 million.
A further breakdown of the data shows that total transaction volume and value recorded for this payment channel in the first three months of this year stood at 20.4million and N107.6 billion respectively. For the whole of 2018, the figures indicate that a total transaction volume and value of 87.1million and N1.8 trillion were recorded.
Nigeria had in 2012 launched an ambitious National Financial Inclusion Strategy that CBN had said would help the country achieve 20 per cent financial exclusion rate by 2020. The regulator had targeted 62 mobile money agents per 100,000 adults in the 2012 strategy.
However, last January, the apex bank unveiled a revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy in which it projected that there would be about 500,000 mobile money/bank agents available to serve about 105 million adult Nigerians by the year 2020. The figure translates to about 476 agents per 100,000 adults.
The revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy also rolled out steps on how the country would get 80 per cent of its adult population become financially included by the end of next year.
“The justification for this new figure is based on recent developments in the financial sector aimed at taking financial services to the unserved and under-served using branchless platforms such as agent banking and digital platforms,” the CBN said in the new document.
Although progress has been made, the 2018 Access to Finan cial Services (A2F) survey conducted by the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), showed that financial inclusion rate dropped from 41.6 per cent in 2016 to 36.8per cent.
Interestingly, this was despite the rise in Nigeria’s banked population, which increased steadily to 39.7 per cent, from 21.1per cent, even as 95.9 per cent of the 27,000 survey respondents said they unaware of mobile money services.
In a report released last year, the International Financial Corporation (IFC) stated that Nigeria was lagging behind its peers in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of financial inclusion and mobile money.
In the report entitled: “Digital Access: The Future of Financial Inclusion in Africa”, the IFC said the number of financially excluded people in Nigeria increased by 2.1per cent in 2017 to 40.1 million.
Significantly, the Corporation blamed the country’s underperformance on the slow growth in mobile money.
It noted that the number of mobile money accounts expanded by just six per cent in Nigeria in 2017, compared with double-digit growth in many jurisdictions.
The study attributed the sluggish growth of mobile money in Nigeria to CBN’s guidelines of 2009 that barred mobile operators from offering mobile money products.
“Instead, the central bank has awarded operating licenses to companies ranging from retail banks to financial technology firms,” the report stated. “The target to reduce the excluded ratio to 20 per cent of Nigerian adults by 2020 looks highly ambitious.”
It would be recalled that as part of efforts to boost financial inclusion in the country, industry stakeholders which include the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc. (NIBSS), CBN, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), commercial banks and other operators in the payment system had last year developed a Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) initiative to offer basic financial services across the country.
The initiative involves on-boarding 40 million low income and unserved Nigerians into the financial system, increasing financial access points from the current 50,000 to 500,000 by 2020 and deepening access to mobile and digital financial products and services such as savings accounts, micro loans, insurance, pensions by Nigerians.
News22 hours ago
Prophet to Buhari: You won the election but lost Nigeria
News21 hours ago
Ministerial list: Buhari under pressure
Body & Soul22 hours ago
I’m in serious pains –Leo Mezie
Politics22 hours ago
Atiku will regain ‘stolen’ mandate, says Akinwonmi
Business22 hours ago
Price of imported rice drops in May
Faith23 hours ago
Justice Omoleye’s action at RCCG can’t be swept away carelessly –RCCG
News21 hours ago
Herdsmen: How Mnyim survived Fulani militants attack in Benue
Business23 hours ago
Job seekers in Africa lack skills for employment, says Adesina