CBN, NCC collaborate to boost Mobile Financial Services

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) have begun to collaborate more effectively to boost mobile financial services.

This comes as broadband penetration in Africa’s largest telecoms market increased beyond 20 percent for the first time.

The Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN Suleiman Barau, stressed the need to adopt measures to curb security breaches in the implementation of the Mobile Money Scheme (MMS) as well as strengthen the services of telecommunication companies in the country.

Barau stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Vice- Chairman, NCC Umar Danbatta.

Meanwhile Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications has confirmed that broadband penetration in Nigeria has reached 20.95 percent, while internet penetration is now at 47.44 percent, making Nigeria second in ranking to South Africa.

A few months ago, there were concerns over the slow pace of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NBP).

Stakeholders feared that the 30 percent broadband penetration target and the 80 percent population target of wireless mobile broadband coverage by 2018 as formally proposed might not be met.

This is because Nigeria was only able to move 4 percent in three years, from 6 percent penetration level in 2013 when the plan was proposed to 10 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

According to Shittu, the rapid increase in broadband penetration levels was as a result of the six licensed slots of 2.6GHz spectrum for the deployment of 4G-LTE services.

The Deputy Governor Barau listed some of the challenges confronting the Mobile Money Scheme to include weak processes associated with SIM Swap that leaves customers vulnerable to fraudulent elements, high cost of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data USSD by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), lack of secured USSD Gate-way for financial services and allocation of unique USSD Codes to licensed Payment Services Providers.

While noting that the challenges had adverse impact on mobile financial services and negated the national financial inclusion strategy, he said the telecommunication companies (TELCOs) played vital roles in the mobile money Service delivery value chain as the framework allowed the TELCOs to provide the infrastructure and the agent network to drive agent banking and mobile financial service.

Barau therefore called for greater collaboration between the financial and telecommunication regulators, urging the resuscitation of the CBN/NCC joint technical committee to enable inter-agency collaborations to address the challenges plaguing the mobile money operation and other financial service delivery.

In his response, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission NCC, Danbatta expressed the Commission‘s commitment to engage the CBN.

Danbatta assured that the NCC would work tirelessly and diligently to ensure that every challenge in the financial services is resolved.

He also assured that the Commission would ensure the integrity of the gateway, which he declared would swing into action immediately to guarantee that the USSD gateway is adequately secured.

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