Nigeria

You cannot financially include someone who is economically excluded– Yele Okeremi

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Yele Okeremi PFS Founder Interview 2 of 32 e1588172063971

The Chief Executive Officer of Precise Financial Systems, Dr. Yele Okeremi has stated that for people to be financially included, they must first and foremost be economically included.

Speaking as one of the distinguished panellist at the maiden edition of the Regtech Africa Roundtable (RAR) – Dialogue Series with the theme: Money Re-imagined in Crisis: Did we just miss the opportunity to demonize cash?, Okeremi proffered useful insights and practical strategies to accelerate growth and sustainability in digital payment adoption with a view to achieving a truly cashless society.

While assessing the wide gap in access to digital payments in the informal sector, he stressed that the main contributory factor is due to the high adult population of economically disenfranchised Nigerians.

“The question is why are there over 90 million financially excluded adults? There are two important factors – the first and most important factor is that you cannot financially include someone that’s economically disenfranchised. So, before you actually talk of financial inclusion, you have to first talk about economic inclusion. And I dare say that a whole lot of us are economically disenfranchised”, he said.

On the impact of regulatory initiatives, Okeremi stated that, “The CBN is doing a lot of engagements but unfortunately, problems that require fiscal solutions cannot be addressed by monetary policies. The CBN tries so much, but there’s only so much they can do. We really need to look at the fiscal systems to guaranty that we have people who are economically included”.

While canvassing for an innovative approach for automatic customer onboarding/channel migration process, Okeremi highlighted Ubiquity of Data Communications Technology, Velocity of money, Propriety of payment, Cost of payment transaction and Agility of dispute resolution as key motivations for ease of payment.

According to Dr. Okeremi, the world needs to ultimately move to transactions where the token of payment becomes ‘who you are’ (biometrics), rather than having tokens that will expire in one form or the other.

On the future outlook and impact of the pandemics, Okeremi stated that, “Pandemics of this sort always, and this one is not an exception, bring down hegemonies and install new ones. My challenge is, what has Nigeria done with it? Are we still going to continue to depend on the apron strings of foreign countries? When we could actually create solutions to our challenges by internalizing them to work for us and create wealth”.

“And I think that it’s time for us as a nation to realize that we have the capacity and capability to create solutions to our challenges and influence our world”, he stated.

While advocating for a market driven digital ecosystem that is channel agnostic, Dr. Okeremi predicted a future for national borderless currencies driven by mobile and biometric devices.

The Regtech Africa Roundtable (RAR) provides a great platform for leading industry practitioners, tech innovators, serial entrepreneurs and regulators to share insights from an informed position on contemporary innovative regulatory issues to enhance effectiveness, innovation and growth.

© Regtech Africa 2020

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