By Martin Ekpeke
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has insisted that the best and fastest way to deepen mobile money in Nigeria, is for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to leverage the infrastructure of telecom operators spread across the country.
Danbatta, while meeting with Editors and Media personalities in Lagos earlier this week, noted that, though, a consultation between the two regulators over the need for telcos to drive mobile money had not yielded positive results, he believes that the Mobile Network Operators are best suited to drive the CBN’s financial inclusion policy.
He said the telecom companies have the infrastructure to drive mobile money service as well as financial inclusion, but the banks don’t want to let go. “Mobile money services in Nigeria are being limited because it is being driven by the banks, who doesn’t have the kind of spread that the MNOs have. We believe that a telecom-led mobile money regime has the huge potential in deepening penetration and driving financial inclusion,,” he said.
The former University lecture, however admitted that the mobile networks are currently not secure enough to handle financial transactions, which is why CBN is shying away.
He noted that there is a need to first put in place regulations that will guide against fraud, stressing that the country may not achieve the desired results when the networks are not secured. According to him, the regulator will not allow a situation where people will put their trusts on the networks to perform transactions only to discover that they are being defrauded of their hard-earned money.
A check by ITPulse has revealed that the adoption rate of mobile money transfer, via mobile phones, is put at one per cent penetration. This is poor compared to Kenya’s mobile money penetration that is currently over 60 per cent