The major GSM operators in Nigeria, which include Glo, 9Mobile, Airtel, MTN Nigeria, and Ntel have inaugurated the financial inclusion committee, which it says will help drive financial services to the unbanked and semi-banked population in the country.
The mandate of the committee, which will operate within the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), includes driving awareness programme that will deepen financial literacy across the country, within the next three months, leveraging the committee’s assets in order to deliver the promised access to financial services to 90 million Nigerians over the next 30 months, through a combined mobile base, Integrated Identity systems, and distribution network.
Another mandate given to the committee is to work in collaboration with other stakeholders and engage proactively with the government to ensure the telecommunications sector contributes its quota to the national goal of attaining 80 percent total financial inclusion and 70 percent formal financial inclusion by 2020.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of ALTON, noted that in the short-term, the committee aims to deliver financial services to up to 35 million Nigerians and increase financial literacy and awareness within 12 months. He added that the longer term goal of delivering access to 90 million people across 773 local government areas by 2020 will be achieved through the conversion of its over one million airtime agents to mobile money agents.
“The inauguration of this committee is a positive and necessary first step to achieving our goals of improving inclusion and literacy. We are focused on delivering sustainable solutions to achieve long-term results. The potential of our sector’s participation in these efforts is enormous. The telecommunications subscriber’s database is the most comprehensive, our coverage is vast and this speaks to the potential that we have as a group to truly contribute to solving some of the challenges that have been faced so far,” he emphasized.
The purpose of the inauguration was defined as a formal introduction to the start of the journey, and more importantly, to reaffirm their commitments, and begin the process of defining the next steps in this initiative. The committee also spent some time discussing the recent publication of exposure guidelines for the licensing and regulation of Payment Service Banks in Nigeria, articulating necessary next steps and direction.
“We commend the Federal Government and the CBN for the recently released exposure guidelines for Payment Services Bank (PSB) License, a welcome development that will play a critical role in accelerating financial inclusion,” added Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of ALTON.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Johnson Oyewo of MTN Nigeria, explained that the job of the Committee is to ensure that the industry contributes effectively to financial inclusion and literacy in Nigeria. “This committee is being inaugurated at an opportune time with the recent announcement by the CBN, allowing for an inclusive model that encourages all players to contribute towards driving financial inclusion in the country,” he said.
The committee will meet fortnightly over the coming months to deliver on its mandate. The committee members are as follows: Engr. Gbenga Adebayo (ALTON), Oladokun Oye (Airtel), Samuel Akinsola (Ntel), Chinedu Anochirionye (Ntel), Ismaila Suhailu (Ntel), Oluwaseun Omotosho (EMTS/9mobile), Chidozie Arinze (EMTS/9mobile), Johnson Oyewo (MTN Nigeria), Jane Amadi (MTN Nigeria), Esaie Diei (Globacom), Oluwatosin Cole (Globacom), Gbolahan Awonuga (ALTON Secretariat ).