The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive officer of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Aminu Maida, has described the Financial Technology (FinTech) industry as a critical driver of financial inclusion of Nigerian citizens living in the underserved and unserved communities across the country.
Mr. Maida made this known 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.
Mr Maida, who was represented at the event by the Controller of NCC Lagos Zonal Office, Mr Henry Ojiokpota, stated that the theme of the forum was suitable at this time for a discourse about the financial industry given the significant rise in digital financial services across the nation.
According to a statement signed by Reuben Muoka, Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr Maida said Fintech is revolutionising Nigeria’s financial ecosystem as it represents a positive disruption to the conventional financial system.
He added that 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.
The NCC official stated that 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.
He also stated that the adoption of these Fintech applications for socio-economic gains by the youth, who account for 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population, will add value to the economy.
Maida, recalled recent industry statistics citing active subscriptions across mobile networks in Nigeria, which hit 220.7 million in August 2023, to demonstrate that the Nigerian Fintech ecosystem can offer an array of financial services to telecom subscribers.
He said the Commission will continue to expand and enhance telecommunications infrastructure to enable robust Fintech services, and address consumer concerns, and regulatory challenges in the sector because the optimal utilisation of digital technologies 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.
“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,” Maida said.
In addition, Maida said the Commission had begun implementing new strategies to meet the new target of 70 per cent Broadband penetration by 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.
The EVC said these policies and strategies had 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.
The NCC boss promised that 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.
This he said include improving the provision of secured infrastructure that support the delivery of digital financial services in efficient ways.
Maida 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 boss stated that the Commission, in support of its vision in this sphere, had implemented a Memorandum of Understanding,MoU, with CBN on boosting payment systems and financial inclusion in line with the Nigeria Payments System Vision 2025.
He also informed the audience that 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.