Best way to ensure financial inclusion is to reduce cost of data – Segun Agbaje ► NewsColt

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GTCO’s CEO, Mr Segun Agbaje, mentioned that the cost of data wants to be drastically decreased to obtain financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Agbaje argued that the continued battle between banks and telcos over USSD is a distraction from the actual difficulty of excessive data prices in Nigeria, which is hindering financial inclusion.
Whereas USSD is not worthwhile for GTCO, cell banking is booming, with the corporate’s cell banking enterprise up by 28% and 18% in quantity and worth, respectively.

The CEO of Warranty Belief Holding Firm Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, has described USSD as a careless know-how, arguing that the one way to actualise financial inclusion in Nigeria is to drastically reduce the cost of data. 

He acknowledged this throughout a media briefing held on Wednesday, Could 16, to talk about the corporate’s FY 2022 and Q1 2023 earnings reviews. 

In accordance to him, the USSD is not state-of-the-art know-how, which is why different creating nations like India don’t use it. 

He additional argued that the continued battle between banks and telcos over USSD is nothing however a distraction by telecom companies from the actual difficulty of excessive data cost. He mentioned that Nigeria has one of the best data prices on the earth. And this is not good for financial inclusion and the general financial improvement of the nation. 

“USSD is a careless know-how. It’s not state-of-the-art. The most effective way to have financial inclusion is to crash the cost of data in order that data turns into extra reasonably priced. Then we will use what is a superior know-how.  
“The entire battle about USSD has been a implausible distraction by the telcos. The rising cost of data in Nigeria versus different economies like ours has been distracted by USSD.  
“If you would like financial inclusion, you then want to deliver down the cost of data. And once you deliver down the cost of data, you begin to eradicate USSD. However in case you insist on utilizing USSD, the banks have advised the telcos to cost the top customers. The banks don’t get any of the costs. The banks are saying we don’t need to be concerned. If you would like to cost N20 for the service, go forward. However acquire it your self. Don’t come to us.  
“I hold telling everyone who cares to pay attention that USSD is not the reply. The reply is to get the cost of data down in Nigeria. In the event you examine the cost of data in Nigeria to elsewhere, you’d realise that we’re being exploited.” 

The backstory 

Mr Agbaje’s remark comes amid renewed tensions between banks and telcos over unpaid USSD debt (amounting to N120 billion) allegedly owed by the banks.  

Final week, telecom operators in Nigeria obtained the approval of the Nigerian Communication Fee (NCC) to disconnect the banks from the service over unpaid debt. However the banks have insisted that they can’t pay the cash due to the technical points that usually characterise mentioned USSD transactions, particularly beneath circumstances when the transactions fail. 

Within the meantime, the CBN has responded to the renewed dispute, noting that it’s in dialogue with all involved stakeholders in the direction of an amicable decision.  

In the meantime, USSD is not worthwhile for GTCO 

Presenting the corporate’s FY 2022 financial assertion in the course of the press briefing, Mr Agbaje identified that USSD worth dipped by 22%, though quantity was up by a paltry 1%.  

“The explanation is as a result of the N6.98 cost is a punitive cost and most of the people are not looking for to pay that simply to use the USSD. That’s why it has stopped rising,” he defined. 

He, nevertheless, famous that however, cell banking is booming. The corporate’s cell banking enterprise line, in phrases of quantity and worth, was up by 28% and 18%, respectively. 

Sadly, the excessive cost of data in Nigeria could be hindering much more potential progress. 

Different key takeaways from the media parley 

The CEO emphasised that 2022 was GTCOs most profitable 12 months of their operations exterior of Nigeria. As a matter of reality, the group revenue was N251 billion minus impairment prices, as towards the N214 billion that was formally reported. The implication is that some of the income got away in an impairment. As a lot as 27% of their Ghanaian mortgage grew to become impaired.  
When requested what the largest lesson from the Ghana bond disaster was, he mentioned they’ve learnt the necessity to make fixed provisions for sovereign bond dangers.  
He apologised for the final banking failures that had been skilled in Q1 2023 following the botched cashless coverage of the CBN, noting that the banking sector was not prepared from a know-how standpoint to address the quantity of demand in on-line banking that heralded the apex financial institution’s coverage. 
To this finish, he mentioned GTCO would enhance its IT capability to be higher positioned to address comparable calls for sooner or later.  
He additionally acknowledged that the financial institution is competing for tech skills with fintechs and overseas firms, noting that they’re doing all the things potential to recruit and retain one of the best skills. He then urged the federal government to assist make the nation higher in order that it turns into much less engaging for tech skills to need to go away the nation for greener pastures.  
Relating to competitors with fintechs, he emphasised that banks like GTBank are competing advantageously. In accordance to him, fintechs can not beat banks as a result of banks are competing on all fronts, each in core banking and likewise within the fintech area.  

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