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FinTech is critical driver of Financial Inclusion for Nigerian consumers: Maida, NCC Chief

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

*Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, emphasises that Financial Technology (FInTech) is revolutionising the country’s economic ecosystem, as it represents ‘a positive disruption to the conventional financial system’

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has described the Financial Technology (FinTech) industry as a critical driver of Financial Inclusion for consumers living in the underserved and unserved communities across the West African country.

Dr.  Maida disclosed this in his Keynote Address at the 2023 edition of the annual Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) FinTech Forum, which focused on, “Harnessing Nigeria’s Fintech Potential: Challenges and Opportunities” and took place in Lagos recently.

The NCC Executive Vice-Chairman, represented at the event by Mr. Henry Ojiokpota, Controller of NCC Lagos Zonal Office, stated that the theme of the forum was suitable for a discourse about the financial industry, given the significant rise in digital financial services across the country.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, also stated Maida emphasised that FinTech is revolutionising Nigeria’s financial ecosystem as it represents a positive disruption to the conventional financial system.

Financial technology’s emergence to leverage technology to enhance financial services such as mobile banking, borrowing, investment, and cryptocurrency, comes as an enhancer and enabler of business and other opportunities in the sphere of innovation, job creation and investment that further stimulates economic growth, said he.

According to him, FinTech applications, such as robo-advisors, payment apps, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending apps, investment apps, and crypto apps, among others, create business opportunities for individuals.

The EVC/CEO further stated that the adoption of these FinTech applications for socioeconomic gains by the youth, who account for 70 percent of Nigeria’s population, will add value to the economy.

Maida particularly, recalled recent industry statistics, citing active subscriptions across mobile networks in Nigeria, which hit 220.7 million August 2023, to demonstrate that the Nigerian FinTech ecosystem could offer an array of financial services to telecoms subscribers.

He assured that the telecoms sector regulatory Commission would continue to expand and enhance telecommunications infrastructure to enable robust FinTech services, and address consumer concerns, and regulatory challenges in the sector.

Optimal utilisation of digital technologies, the EVC/CEO said, will enhance the provision of financial services to rural communities and underserved segments of the population through leveraging of high mobile phone penetration in Nigeria.

Maida said: “Therefore, Fintech has the potential to deepen the existing payment and financial system infrastructure to reach unserved and underserved areas and further stimulate economic growth.”

He as well disclosed that the Commission had begun implementing new strategies to meet the new target of 70 percent Broadband penetration by the year 2025 as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, and the blueprint released by the Honourable Minister for accelerating the growth of the digital economy sector through technology.

These policies and strategies have huge implications for enhancing derivable benefits of the Fintech industry as well as significantly and positively impacting Nigeria’s goals on financial inclusion and the digital economy at large, stated the NCC CEO.

He pledged the Commission would continue to support the FinTech industry in harnessing its enormous potential and will not rest on its oars in its strides to address the challenges in the sector, including improving the provision of secured infrastructure that support the delivery of digital financial services in efficient ways. He also reiterated the Commission’s focus on maintaining minimum standards in Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure uninterrupted connectivity to enhance sectoral contribution to the economy.

The NCC Executive Vice-Chairman also noted that the Commission, in support of its vision in this sphere, had implemented a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on boosting payment systems and financial inclusion, which is in line with the Nigeria Payments System Vision 2025.

Maida informed the audience that the NCC would continue to play an important role in harnessing the potential of FinTech through maximum support for FinTech policies, enforcing regulations, and strengthening collaborations with relevant authorities in the ecosystem.

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