By Omodele Adigun
The Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has called on policy makers and capital market stakeholders to leverage on technology to expand access to financial services and deepen financial inclusion.
Yuguda, who stated this at the weekend in his keynote address at the 2021 workshop of Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria(CAMCAN) in Lagos, noted that technology would continue to play a critical role in expanding access to affordable financial services.
The SEC boss, represented by 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 he need for participants in the market to leverage technology to close the huge financial inclusion gap that currently exist in tha 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 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 said 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 processes 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.
He said: “Average age of participation in capital market is 53 years where as the power is in the youths. We need to bring these youths to play on the capital market.
“We need market infrastructure to drive this initiative and some tools to help onboard people in the rural areas. We have these requirements, it is the starting point,” Abbas said.