Nigeria’s largest GSM operators, Glo, 9Mobile, Airtel, MTN Nigeria and Ntel, are set to help drive the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion strategy with plans to deepen financial services to 90 million, over the next 30 months.
The operators at the weekend, inaugurated the Telecommunications financial inclusion committee, and laid out the roadmap for deepening financial inclusion and financial literacy across Nigeria. The committee will operate within the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Its mandate include: Driving an 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.
Also, it will 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 per cent total financial inclusion and 70 per cent formal financial inclusion by 2020.
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. 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.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of ALTON said: “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 subscribers 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 said.
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.