Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage financial technology companies (fintechs) as well as mobile money agents to address the issue of getting new naira notes across the country.
Osibanjo, in a meeting with some fintech stakeholders on Friday, expressed worries over the difficulty in getting new naira notes and sought possible ways to mitigate the hardship, the Cable News reports.
He advised the CBN and commercial banks to work with all fintechs firms that have mobile money agents, in order to reach the farthest places in the country.
In addition, he urged regulators and the banks to deploy more fintech and money agents to the hinterlands to address the worrying situation.
“You need cash to pay for transport. For instance, in Abuja, how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buy recharge cards?” Osinbajo was quoted as saying in a statement by Laolu Akande, his spokesperson.
“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things.
“It seems to me that banks must engage their mobile money operators. Fintechs with mobile money licenses and many of them have micro-finance bank licenses now and already have a network of mobile money agents or human banks or human ATMs (as they are sometimes called) who are responsible for them and they can supervise themselves. They can do currency swaps and open bank accounts.”
Speaking further on the redesign of the naira notes, Osinbajo lamented the scarcity of the new notes.
“More disturbing is the fact that after depositing your old notes, there are no new notes, so people everywhere in the urban areas and rural areas simply have no money,” he said.
“There are logistical challenges that have to be addressed by the CBN and the banks, especially from the point of view of the average Nigerian and those in the hinterland who hardly use any electronic platforms.”
Osinbajo also said while there has always been a certain failure rate in online banking and money transactions, they have become even more difficult now with the increase in the number of transactions congesting the system.
“So where in the past you used POS or any of the electronic platforms, you had maybe 20 percent to 30 percent failure rate, now because everyone is trying to get on those platforms, obviously, the failure rate is much more and the problems are much more pronounced,” the politician explained.
Osinbajo, who also agreed with President Muhammadu Buhari on ensuring that stability is restored, assured the nation that the challenges are being addressed and would be solved very soon.
“We really need to make progress even as we make efforts to deal with some of these issues confronting us today,” he said.