Digital Financial Inclusion: Over 73m Nigerians are excluded – Danbatta

Posted by News Express | 14 March 2021 | 925 times

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•Prof Umar Garba Danbatta


Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said about 73.2million Nigerians are excluded from digital financial inclusion.

Danbatta who stated this at the 5th Annual The Bullion Lecture organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism in Lagos, said the number represents 41.6% of the adult population in Nigeria.

Danbatta said: “With a population of over 190 million people, research shows that 73.2 million adults, representing 41.6% of the adult population in Nigeria, are financially excluded.

“However, Nigeria remains one of the countries identified by the International Telecommunications Union(ITU) to have developed policy directions towards deepening financial inclusion in order to address the challenge of access to formal financial services.”

The NCC boss who spoke on the topic entitled, “Driving Pervasive Broadband Penetration to Deepen Digital Financial Inclusion for Nigeria’s Socio-economic Transformation,” underscored the importance of ensuring digital financial inclusion for the citizenry.

Digital financial inclusion, according to him, “involves the deployment of cost-saving digital means to reach currently financially-excluded and underserved populations with a range of formal financial services suited to their needs that are responsibly delivered at a cost affordable way to customers and sustainable for providers.”

He identified digital infrastructure as one of the three building blocks for digital financial inclusion, apart from financial service market and products people prefer to existing alternatives.

He further enumerated various initiatives taken by the Commission to promote digital financial inclusion in the country.

“To achieve an accelerated financial inclusion target that the country desires, even as the population grows, technology and more importantly, broadband, has to play a massive significant role and what I see technology doing in terms of Nigeria’s financial inclusion is actually to democratise access.

“In doing this, the NCC embarked on various regulatory initiatives that have continued to increase access to telephone lines and improve access to high-speed Internet or broadband.

“This is in line with the Commission’s mandate of ensuring universal access to telecoms services in the country consistent with the ITU’s goal of achieving digital inclusion, globally.

“Foremost amongst these regulatory initiatives, is the implementation of the Open Access Model for infrastructure deployment through the competitively selected Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) called the InfraCo Project:

“The InfraCo initiative is expected to provide, at a minimum, broadband fibre and connectivity to every Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the Federation, totaling 774 fibre Points of Access (PoAs) with a minimum speed of 10 Gbps which will translate to, at least, 38,296km of Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) to the Transmission over the next years.

“So far, the Commission has licensed six of the seven InfraCos to implement this project and it is intended that the presence of fibre point of access in each LGA will not only spur development, lower cost of entry for telcos and bring about innovative services and applications, but also, improve the conditions of living in the rural, urban and semi-urban areas, especially with respect to access to financial services.

“The InfraCo Project can be considered as the beginning of the “Next Level” journey towards achieving the 120,000km target of fibre connectivity set by the current administration.

“We have recently begun a process to strategically review the InfraCo framework and its funding options towards ensuring effective implementation of the national fibre project.

“When fully implemented, it will ensure robust and pervasive broadband infrastructure to drive availability, accessibility and affordability of financial services,” he assured. (The INDEPENDENT)

Source: News Express

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