PSBs Are Critical To Financial Inclusion Drive- 9PSB CEO

PSBs Are Critical To Financial Inclusion Drive- 9PSB
L-R- Director, Digital Economy NCC, Engr. Nwaulune Augustine; Chairman, CeBIH executive Committee, Mr. Adeyemi Atanda, Deputy Governor, Ogun State, Her Exellency, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele; Managing Director/CEO, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), Branka Mracajac and Vice Chairman, CeBIH Executive Committee, during the 2021 annual CeBIH retreat held at Park Inn by Radisson hotel Abeokuta, Ogun

The Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka Mracajac has stressed the importance of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in supporting the country’s financial inclusion drive. She declared that PSBs offer last mile delivery of financial solutions to the unbanked, under-banked and underserved who in most cases are neglected due to geographical and infrastructural barriers.

Mracajac made this known, while delivering a keynote presentation, themed “The Role of Payment Service Banks within the Financial Ecosystem in Nigeria”, at the 2021 Committee of e-Business Industry Heads, CeBIH retreat which held at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Abeokuta, Ogun State on Thursday December 2, 2021.

According to her, Nigeria has made considerable progress in developing a strong financial inclusion framework, but a lot still needs to be done in ensuring that the common man isn’t left out of the financial ecosystem.

She said, “From 2012 we have seen an appreciable progress in the country’s financial inclusion implementation journey. No doubt, the licensing of Payment Service Banks is impacting significantly on the inclusion drive. As at today, we are seeing an increase in the numbers of those who are financially included. However, more than 1 in 3 Nigerian adults remain completely financially excluded. It’s a huge number that needs to be addressed and at 9PSB, we are committed to providing access to everyone, especially to the neglected and underserved population through our network of agent partners.”

In addition, Mracajac pointed out that 9PSB is also invested in initiatives that support financial literacy, which is a key success factor in driving financial inclusion.  According to her, in addressing the issue of access, focus should also be on getting the vast majority of the Nigerian population to be financially literate. “When people are informed, they make sound and healthy financial judgments that increase their finances. Currently, we conduct mass financial literacy awareness and sensitization campaigns through our agent network, and we intend to do more in this regard,” she remarked.

Furthermore, she emphasized the need for collaborations among industry stakeholders to deliver seamless and enhanced financial services that are diverse and address specific needs of every market segment. “We recently went into a partnership agreement with Flutterwave to create a seamless payment ecosystem. With the partnership, we are aggregating and simplifying transactions for banking agents, merchants, and consumers; Simply put, they now have a single point of entry to enjoy the various products and services provided by Flutterwave and 9PSB.” she explained.

Earlier in her address, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele had disclosed that the State Government is looking to collaborate with fintech playersto ease cash transfer services in the State. She challenged participants at the retreat to come up with solutions that will help support financially excluded Nigerians not just in the State but across the Federation.

Responding to the Deputy Governor, Mracajac highlighted some of 9PSB’s value propositions for states. These include Social Investment Programmes to support states’cash transfer initiatives for vulnerable groups,partneringwith State Governments to strengthen their various financial inclusion initiatives as well as solutions for state revenue collection and disbursement.

The CeBIH retreat is a platform to examine key innovations in payment industry over the past year and discuss insights and trends for the coming year. This year’s retreat tagged, ‘Innovative Digital Banking’ focused on issues around the growth of digital payments in Nigeria and how technological innovations such as digital currencies, blockchain, 5G network, contactless payments, among others, will dominate the payment industry in the coming years.

The retreat attracted key stakeholders and dignitaries including, the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems,Central Bankof Nigeria, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Director, Payments System Management, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Musa Jimoh, Managing Director, Globus Bank Limited, Mr. Elias Igbinakenzua and the Managing Director, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, Mr. Premier Oiwoh.