By Omodele Adigun
About 70 million active mobile line owners in the country do not have bank accounts, the CEO of eTranzact International Plc., Niyi Toluwalope, has said.
Toluwalope, who stated this recently at the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigerian (CAMCAN) 2021 Annual Workshop in Lagos, said that 110 million Nigerians owned 150 million mobile phone lines but only about 40 million had active bank verification numbers.
Toluwalope said there is a need to close the gap, especially as regards small and medium enterprises.
Speaking on “Technology as a Tool for Financial Inclusion in Nigeria: A Fintech Approach”, he said that financial inclusion was important to the capital market industry.
His words: “Financial inclusion holds the answers to how we increase the participation of retail investors, how we encourage more homegrown businesses, leverage the capital market for growth and the informal sector’s participation in the capital market.
“The role of technology cannot be overemphasised. Over the past few years, technology has allowed more people to gain access to financial services, and that has increased by default, the customer base of capital market operators.
“Essentially, the rise of digital financial services means growth for the capital market.
“We can directly expand the current digital savings and investments offerings to leverage the capital market for increased returns,” he said.
He added that for financial inclusion to thrive, the sector would need collaboration of players in the private and public sectors.
He noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria as well the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had taken a number of steps to drive financial inclusion.
The workshop had a panel session during which representatives of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Ltd., FMDQ Exchange, SEC and stockbrokers pledged to continue to fashion out ways to tackle ponzi scheme activities.
The workshop was sponsored by Flour Mills of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, NGX, FMDQ, and SEC, among other organisations.
Toluwalope, added that leveraging technology could help close the investment gap in the capital market.
He explained that there is a need to close the gap, especially as regards small and medium enterprises.
Toluwalope noted that financial Inclusion holds the answers to three questions that every capital market leader has which include how do we increase the participation of retail investors? How do we encourage more homegrown businesses leverage the Capital Market for growth? And can the Informal sector participate in the capital markets?
Thee-Tranzact boss added that over the past few years, technology had allowed more and more people gain access to financial services, which has increased by default. The customer base of capital market operators had increased by default with the advent of technology.
“Today, the average Nigerian can open an account via the APP or by visiting a PocketMoni agent location, send and receive money. We can expand this to include buying shares on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) or bonds on FMDQ and the likes.
“Billions in investments happen outside the capital markets through unlicensed forex trading, crypto trading and even sports betting platforms.
“This gives insights into the risk appetite of the average Nigerian. We can leverage technology to capture this value while delivering Financial Inclusion,” he said.