The President of Fintech Association of Nigeria, Dr. Segun Aina and the Management led by Dr. Babatunde Obrimah in a bid to support its members and the ecosystem to weather the storm of economic and business impacts of COVID-19 and prepare them for post COVID-19 challenges and opportunities, engaged in strategic discussions with the fifteen (15) sectors that make up its one hundred and twenty-six (126) member institutions: Banks, Startups, Insurance, Financial Services, Payment, Incubation and Acceleration, lending, Consulting, ICT, Blockchain, Investment and Venture Capital, Legal, Media, Education and Professional Bodies.The engagement was done through nine zoom sessions with each session hosting members from particular sectors.
The immense acceptance and partnership the Association fosters with Regulators came to fore as the two (2) of the foremost financial services Regulatory Agencies in Nigeria also participated in the engagements. Mr. Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Pius Agboola, Director, Policy and Regulation, and Mr. Abiodun Aribike, Head, IT, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) participated in the engagement with the Insurance Sector while Mr. Taiwo Oladimeji, Deputy Director, Payments System Policy and Oversight, Central Bank of Nigeria participated in the engagement with members from the Payment, Lending and Financial Services space.
The occasion presented the stakeholders of the Association the opportunities to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, take holistic views on what should be done to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and sustain the growth of the sector. The participants across the board believe that the country is still far away in the digital adoption journey as COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the lack of digital readiness of the economy.
Participants identified some of the challenges the sector faces as poor infrastructure (power supply and telecoms services), high cost of data and internet tariff, low volume of transactions, low productivity of workers, insecurity, increase in cyber threats and frauds, lack of structured data necessary for making an informed decision amongst others.
The need for synergy and more focused interactions amongst stakeholders, business, professional and indigenous funding support for startups, capacity building, digital education and literacy programmes for professionals, advocacy programme, the establishment of centralized fintech database, ecosystem cybersecurity strategy amongst others are some of the survival strategies participants proposed.
Participants also seized the occasion to task the Regulators in the country to deepen engagement with the sector through partnership on research, early involvement of operators in the process of drafting policies, review of KYC policies to make them more flexible to meet dynamic business needs, digitization and streamlining of licensing processes, ensure flexibility of licensing and capitalization cost, the establishment of a centralized database for lending and foster progressive interaction with the sector.
According to Dr. Segun Aina in drawing the curtain on the engagements; “stakeholders must cooperate, co-create, collaborate and compete to make the sector more vibrant”