Drop in mobile money agent outlets worries stakeholders
The number of Mobile money agent networks has continued to witness drop in the past one year and stakeholders are not happy about it.According to IMF Data: Eight Annual Financial Access Survey Report, 2017 for Nigeria, mobile money agent outlets available for 100,000 adults to use is 17.53 as at the end of 2016 down from 20.82 outlets available for 100,000 adults in 2015.
This according to stakeholders is an indication of drop in the number of Mobile money outlets in 2016 compared to 2015.Reacting to the development, Sarafadeen Fasasi, president, Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria, said that the situation will be worst by the time 2017 report is released because of what he attributed to as unfavourable policy of Central Bank of Nigeria and money deposit banks towards mobile money agents.
He said that mobile money agents registered by banks to facilitate their mobile money operations are not supported with credit facility to grow their business.
“More so, CBN and mobile money operating banks’ policies on Mobile money is wrong. They are focusing on volume as against performance. CBN gave banks unrealistic target of growing mobile money agents’ number, and to meet this target, banks start activating agents online without monitoring their performance this gave rise to ghost agents,” he said.
Fasasi however lamented lack of investment in mobile money agent networks in the country and urged CBN to create enabling environment that will make investing in the mobile money agent business in the country attractive.
“What we see today is grants to mobile money operators and mobile money agents are not remembered in all of this which led to them going out of business. This situation is inimical to achieving CBN target of reducing financial exclusion rate to 20% by 2020,” he added.
Tuned Ogungbade, chief executive officer, Global Accelerex, had at Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) forum emphasized that the world is getting better at understanding the mechanics of financial inclusion, and the ways that digital technology can accelerate it.
According to him, ‘digital financial inclusion is a powerful tool for tackling poverty, increases consumer activity and trade as well improves the economy of the country which is beneficial even for the wealthy. Financial inclusion will indirectly increase the tax revenue going to the government’.
He urged the banks and other financial institutions to embrace innovation and using digital technology to take advantage of the huge untapped potential in the smaller towns and cities and providing them with the required type and form of financial services.
He decried lack of digital services that support the volume and form of services required to capture the low income and rural population.
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