Chairman Brands Journalists Association Of Nigeria (BJAN), Goddie Ofose’s Speech At The 4th Annual Brand & Marketing Conference On Mobile Money In Nigeria

The Chairman Brands Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN), Goddie Ofose, among others dignitaries deliver speech at the BJAN 4th Annual Brand & Marketing Conference, the theme: Mobile Money In Nigeria: Challenges, Opportunities And Threats on Friday, November 4, 2016 at The Chartered Institute Of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Lagos.

In his speech, the BJAN Chairman, Goddie Ofose said the mobile money was chosen as a topic for discussion based on a number of reasons, for instance, the association believe that Nigeria is at a juncture where a remodelling of the financial services system was critical as a means of enabling credit, facilitating transactions, minimising the risks associated with heavy cash movements, facilitating exchange and making access too easier, cheaper and more convenient.

Below is his speech… 
In 2007, Kenya launched a Money Scheme, knows as the M-PESA. It was designed originally to cater for the microfinance business of the financial services sector. M-PESA made financial inclusion possible, easy and low cost.

Interestingly, it was driven by the telecom industry. The scheme became so successful that on May 27th, 2013, The Economist wrote an interesting and detailed article that suggested this model was the largest and most successful in the world.

In the article, the renowned magazine had written: “PAYING for a taxi ride using your mobile phone is easier in Nairobi than it is in New York, thanks to Kenya’s world-leading mobile-money system, M-PESA.” Launched in 2007 by Safaricom, the country’s largest mobile network operator, it is now used by over 17million Kenyans, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the adult population; around 25% of the country’s gross national product flows through it.

M-PESA lets people transfer cash using their phones, and is by far the most successful scheme of its type on earth.

Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?
M-PESA was originally designed as a system to allow microfinance-loan repayments to be made by phone, reducing the costs associated with handling cash and thus making possible lower interest rates. But after pilot testing it was broadened to become a general money-transfer scheme. Once you have signed up, you pay money into the system by handing cash to one of Safaricom’s 40,000 agents (typically in a corner shop selling airtime), who credits the money to your M-PESA account. This makes you withdraw money by visiting another agent, who checks that you have sufficient funds before debiting your account and handing over the cash. You can also transfer money to others using a menu on your phone. Cash can thus be sent one place to another more quickly, safely and easily than taking bundles of money in person, or asking others to carry it for you. This is particularly useful in a country where many workers in cities send money back home to their families in rural villages. Electronic transfers save people time, freeing them to do other more productive things instead.”

It was against this background, and in the light of the drive by the Central Bank of Nigeria to deepen financial inclusion through the development of the Mobile Money Scheme in Nigeria that we at Brands Journalists Association of Nigeria decides to focus on this aspect of financial services at this year’s edition of our Annual Conference.

This year’s edition is the 4th in the series where serious national issues concerning business and social development are discussed. The first edition of this meeting of minds held in Abeokuta, Ogun State

The second edition held in Osogbo, the state of Osun.  And last year, which incidentally was the third edition held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

During these sessions, issues relating to the vexed issue of Nation Branding, Tourism Marketing and Corporate social investment were given pivotal attention.

It is to note that leaders and movers of the Nigerian economic landscape had always given serious attention to each of our conferences with the likes of  Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President/CEO, Dangote Group, Mrs. FolakeAni-Mumuney of First Bank, Ibrahim Lamorde, former Chairman of EFCC, Femi Adesina, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Feyijimi Awosika, Executive Vice Chairman, Troyka Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, GMD Access Bank Plc and Ken Egbas - CEO, Nigerian CSR Awards all delivering papers at previous events.

We made it a point to focus on Mobile Money during this year’s conference for a number of reasons. First, we are convinced that Nigeria is at a juncture where a remodeling of the financial services system was critical as a means of enabling credit, facilitating transactions, minimizing the risks associated with heavy cash movements, facilitating exchange and making access to money easier, cheaper and more convenient.

This essentially went to great lengths to ensure those whose voices and policy issues provide critical enablers to the success of the Mobile Money scheme in Nigeria were in attendance and will speak on the issue.

We are aware that the Central bank of Nigeria had recently licensed two operators, Innovectives Limited and Interswitch to help in this drive. But we are also aware that there are still a few other issues to be harmonized, especially on the dichotomy between the financial services industry and the telecom industry on who should lead the scheme.

It is our belief that discussions on this issue today will, in no small measure help increase and improve the body of ideas that will ensure this scheme records a greater success in Nigeria than it did in the Kenyan example earlier cited.

I am strongly convinced that the presence of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Communications Commission and Stanbic IBTC Bank, a bank with Africa-wide operations will enable serious and valuable discourse with significant take-outs for the wider industry.

It is our expectation that the achievement recorded at the end of today will be factored into policy implementation by all stakeholders for the betterment of the Nigerian financial services market, especially the critical mass of the unbanked and underbanked.

Our sincere appreciation goes to the Lagos State Government, StanbicIBTC, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Access Bank, NCC and all the others whose support, in one way or the other, made this day possible.

Chairman, Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria.