Advocating for greater cooperation between telecom and banking sectors, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has stated that telecommunications remains the best enabler in expanding the frontiers of financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Danbatta affirmed this at the NCC head office while receiving a team from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Foundation’s Consultants, Glenbrooks Partners, who paid a visit to the Commission to explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership to enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Danbatta declared that 35 million Nigerians have no access to telecommunications services and by implication they lack access to digital financial services, a condition that undermines financial inclusion.
According to the EVC, this challenge is caused by inadequacy of both wireless and fibre connectivity infrastructure. “We need to do more investment in both fixed and wireless infrastructure to enable us to reach our target of at least 80 percent level of financial inclusion in about four years”, he emphasised.
The EVC said access to telecom services by distant, isolated, unserved and underserved communities will enable the more citizens to embrace digital financial culture.
Danbatta also revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued Mobile Money Payment Services license to some mobile network operators to enable them to undertake mobile financial transaction services.
Danbatta therefore advocated renewed greater cooperation and collaboration between the banking and telecommunications sectors to harmonise the cost of transactions for financial services in an equitable manner.
At the meeting, which held at the request of the Foundation, Danbatta said the realisation of the centrality of telecommunication to all aspects of the economy explains NCC’s upbeat in identifying access gaps and in instituting processes for the expansion of telecom infrastructure across the country.