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Technology, key to deepening financial inclusion-SEC

Salamatu Ejembi, Lagos 

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Technology would continue to play a critical role in expanding access to affordable financial services.

 

This is according to the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, at the 2021 Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) workshop held in Lagos at the weekend.

 

Yuguda called on policymakers and capital market stakeholders to leverage technology to expand access to financial services and deepen financial inclusion.

 

The SEC DG, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Operations, Mr Temidayo Obisan, said aside expanding access to affordable financial services, it also provides cost effective means of reaching the untapped market, especially in the rural areas.

 

According to him, there are over 191 million and 140 million active mobile subscribers and active data subscribers in Nigeria as at October 3, 2021.

 

Yuguda stressed the need for participants in the market to leverage technology to close the huge financial inclusion gap that currently exists in the market and bring the unbanked into the financial space.

 

He pointed out that closing this gap would help reduce the cost of providing financial transactions as it involves little or no infrastructure cost and offers the highest outreach.

 

“Leveraging technology to offer financial service has an advantage over traditional means because it breaks down geographical constraints. 

 

“It also simplifies the means of serving existing customers for example through the use of mobile banking agents to perform banking transactions. 

 

“Financial institutions are increasingly using electronic channels to onboard clients and address customers queries and bring financial product offerings to the prospective users,” he said.

 

On measures adopted so far by the commission to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria, Yuguda said SEC is currently working with the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to accelerate financial inclusion to collective investment schemes.

 

He added that the commission is proposing a hackathon challenge to help develop a comprehensive suite of mobile internet-based services targeted at having an end-to-end process of the entire capital market.

 

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Director, HOD Securities and Investment Services of SEC, Mr Abdulkadir Abbas, said there was a need for an active collaboration of all market stakeholders to help drive the initiative.

 

According to him, adoption of technology can help open up the capital market and bridge the gap of the unbanked which has created room for the proliferation of unregistered outlets that have continued to swindle investors of their resources in the market.

 

Abbas said “Average age of participation in the capital market is 53 years whereas the power is in the youths. We need to bring these youths to play on the capital market.”

 

Bilkisu Pai

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