SWITZERLAND, MAY 16 – The need to deepen mobile money market penetration for the growth of the financial technology services sector and contribute to the GDP of the nation cannot be overemphasised vis-a-vis the latest economic growth forecasts.
This assertion was made by indigenous Fintech firm SystemSpecs Limited at the ongoing Nigeria-Gambia Treasury Single Account (TSA) workshop in Abuja on Thursday.
Speaking at a session which featured other discussants including Director of TSA, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Sylva Okolieabo and Accountant General of Kaduna State, Idris Nyam, Demola Igbalajobi, Divisional Head, Payment Gateway & Infrastructure, SystemSpecs Limited bemoaned the vast untapped potential of the mobile money sector which could otherwise propel financial exclusion and yield more revenue for the country.
Igbalajobi observed that the unwillingness of operators in the sector to put greater financial backing behind their products despite the numerous incentives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a major constraint to the growth of a sector notwithstanding its inherent growth potentials.
According to Igbalajobi, ‘’financial companies in Nigeria mainly have their sights set on the Lagos and Abuja markets whereas the rural markets are prime for tapping. Mobile money lends itself to rural areas where we have a paucity of bank accounts.’’
‘’A major hinderance to the growth of the market is the propensity to make huge profits in as short a time as possible although the process of yielding profit in the mobile money market might be a bit more demanding. In fairness to the operators, the cost of entry makes it a less attractive proposition, however, it remains a sector rife with opportunities,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Director of ICT, Kogi State, Isah Sani, during a presentation on the gains of the TSA in the state narrated the enormous role technology has played in improving the fiscal regime of the state. According to Sani, TSA provides “complete and timely information on government cash resources, including real time account balances.’’
He pinpointed the level of control the policy grants the state as it affords ‘’reduced bank fees and transaction costs by reduction of numbers of government bank accounts and lower administrative cost for the government for maintaining these accounts. Improves bank reconciliation and quality of fiscal data by ensuring effective reconciliation between the government accounting systems and cash flow statements from the payment and banking system which reduces the risk of errors in reconciliation.’’
When quizzed about the selection process of the technology to facilitate the unhinged implementation of the policy, Sani alluded to functionality being the main criterion for selection. Fintech application, Remita edged others owing to its seamless performance.
“The robust system, which was previously absent, that Remita brought on board meant that it was quickly adopted. You can hardly talk about downtime with the platform and the ability to see all transactions in real-time made it a no-brainer.’’
Okolieaboh in his closing remarks admonished the Gambian emissaries led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ada Gaye, to take note of the potential pitfalls that could derail their TSA implementation drive by urging them not to be hesitant to draw from Nigeria’s well of experience.