Fintech Social Meet 6.0 Explores Regulation And The Growth of Nigeria's Fintech Industry

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Sunday, December 15, 2019 / 8.00AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV/ Header Image Credit: WebTV

 

The prospects for the growth of Nigeria's Fintech industry came to the fore at the Social Meet 6.0, which was the last for the year and hosted by Udo Udoma and Bello Osagie Chambers in Lagos.

 

It gave an insight into "Fintechs and Regulation" with Mr. Sam Okojere, the Chief Fintech Officer and Director, Payments Systems of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the keynote speaker.

 

The event brought together key players in the country's Fintech ecosystem, from technology lawyers, developers, innovators, bankers, academia, and analysts.

 

Giving his opening remarks at the event, the President of the Fintech Association of Nigeria, Dr. Segun Aina, said the forum was part of the process of deepening the financial technology ecosystem in the country.

 

Dr. Aina was happy to inform stakeholders that through the advocacy role of the Association, regulators and other players have started showing commitment to leveraging digital technology to transform the financial services sector.

 

Speaking further, he noted that in a recent Enhancing Financial Innovation Access, EFINA survey Fintechs in Nigeria highlighted regulatory clarity as a major concern for their operations.

 

He believed with continuous engagement with regulators like the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the National Insurance Commission, the regulatory space will become more proactive to developments in the Fintech industry.

 

In a brief presentation at the forum, the Founder and CEO of Kuda, Nigeria's first licensed mobile bank, Mr. Babs Ogundeyi, stressed the need to address the issue of the price of financial services, which was critical to deepening financial inclusion in the country.

 

The Kuda Mobile Bank CEO said it had created a savings bucket with a variety of other products that will enable Nigerians to access financial services that are free from the regular charges that are obtainable with the traditional banks.

 

Presenting the keynote speech on behalf of the Director of Payment Services, CBN, a Senior Associate with Udo Udoma & Bello Osagie Chambers, Tolulope Omoleye Osindero, highlighted some of the key developments as it concerns the regulation of Fintech activities.

 

From the presentation it was clear that the CBN had developed various policy documents and guidelines covering the following areas;

  • Mobile Money services
  • Agent banking and Agent banking relationship
  • Framework for licensing Super Agents in Nigeria
  • Transaction switching services
  • Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number
  • Regulation on Electronic payments and Collections for public and private sector
  • Card issuance and operations
  • Electronic payments channels in Nigeria
  • The regulatory framework for the use of USSD in the Nigerian financial system

Speaking further she outlined the category of licenses issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the payments and technology space, which are;

  • Transaction switching
  • Third-party processor
  • Mobile money operator
  • Payment service solution providers
  • Payment terminal service provider
  • Super Agent
  • Card Scheme
  • Payment Service Bank
  • International Money Transfer Operator

 

The presentation also highlighted the challenges that the CBN as a regulator is facing in carrying out its task, they include;

  • The speed at which technology is evolving, which makes regulation have a very short shelf life.
  • Companies operating without approval/license
  • Difficulty in meeting licensing requirements by some Fintechs and start-ups
  • Companies operating beyond the scope of their license
  • Striking a balance in creating a supportive space for innovation while maintaining a robust regulatory environment that will promote both certainties for innovators, safety for consumers and growth for the payment systems.
  • Lack of understanding of regulations by stakeholders, leading to different interpretations and implementations.
  • Non-compliance to regulations

 

It featured a panel session with discussants Mr. Isa Alade, Secretary of Fintech Association of Nigeria, Tolulope Omoyele Osindero, Senior Associate Udo Udoma & Bello Osagie Chambers, Dr. Babatunde Obrimah, Chief Operating Officer, Fintech Association of Nigeria and Mr. Babs Ogundeyi, Founder/CEO of Kuda Mobile Bank.

 

The panellists agreed that the evolution of the Fintech industry in Nigeria had witnessed a reactive approach by the Central Bank of Nigeria, meaning there as the need to encourage the regulator to be more proactive.

 

According to the Secretary of the Fintech Association of Nigeria, Mr. Isa Alade, the Association had approached the CBN on the possibilities of a single licensing framework.

 

Highlights of the event were the induction of new members into the Fintech Association of Nigeria and the presentation of certificates to professional members.

 

In 2019, Nigeria attracted about $400m investments in the Fintech space,  making it the leading destination for Africa.

 

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