The executive vice chairman (EVC) of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida has highlighted the crucial role of financial technology (FinTech) in promoting financial inclusion among underserved and unserved communities in Nigeria.
Maida shared this perspective in his keynote address at the 2023 Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) FinTech Forum, held in Lagos. The event’s theme, “Harnessing Nigeria’s FinTech Potential: Challenges and Opportunities,” was particularly relevant as digital financial services have gained significant traction across the nation.
Represented at the event by the controller of NCC Lagos zonal office, Mr. Henry Ojiokpota, Maida described FinTech as a disruptive force that is revolutionising Nigeria’s financial ecosystem. It leverages technology to enhance financial services, including mobile banking, borrowing, investment and cryptocurrency, fostering innovation, job creation and investment, thus stimulating economic growth.
The EVC emphasised that various FinTech applications, such as robo-advisors, payment apps, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending apps, investment apps and cryptocurrency apps, present diverse business opportunities for individuals. He stressed that the adoption of these FinTech applications by Nigeria’s youth, who constitute 70 per cent of the population, could significantly contribute to the nation’s economy.
Maida underscored the potential for the Nigerian finTech ecosystem to provide a wide range of financial services to mobile network subscribers. He referred to recent industry statistics, which indicated that active subscriptions across mobile networks in Nigeria reached 220.7 million in August 2023.
The EVC stated that the NCC is committed to expanding and enhancing telecommunications infrastructure to facilitate robust FinTech services. The commission will also address consumer concerns and regulatory challenges in the sector. Maida emphasised that the optimal utilisation of digital technologies would improve the delivery of financial services to rural communities and underserved populations, leveraging the high mobile phone penetration in Nigeria.
He highlighted the potential of FinTech to deepen the existing payment and financial system infrastructure, reaching unserved and underserved areas while driving economic growth.
Maida mentioned that the NCC is actively implementing new strategies to achieve the 70 per cent broadband penetration target by 2025, as outlined in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 and the blueprint for accelerating the growth of the digital economy.
These policies and strategies have significant implications for enhancing the benefits of the FinTech industry and positively impacting Nigeria’s objectives in financial inclusion and the digital economy.
The NCC’s commitment to support the FinTech industry in harnessing its potential and addressing sector challenges was reiterated by Maida. The commission will focus on providing secure infrastructure for efficient digital financial services and maintaining minimum standards in quality of service (QOS) to ensure uninterrupted connectivity, ultimately contributing to the country’s economy.
Maida highlighted the NCC’s partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in boosting payment systems and financial inclusion, aligned with the Nigeria Payments System Vision 2025.
In conclusion, he affirmed that the NCC would continue to play a vital role in supporting FinTech policies, enforcing regulations, and strengthening collaborations with relevant authorities to harness the potential of FinTech to its fullest extent.