The Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been urged by the Fintech professionals who spoke at the annual Lagos Fintech Week to inaugurate the Cashless Lagos scheme as part of his administration’s Greater Lagos initiative.
The Fintech experts said that it is high time the Lagos State government in partnership with the private sector articulated a vision for the Cashless Lagos scheme.
According to them, the state that has over 14.3 million metro population, 30 per cent active payments terminal penetration, 64 per cent banked population, high number of bank branches, automated teller machines and mobile money and bank agents “deserves a cashless scheme”.
Speaking during the annual Lagos Fintech Week 2020 on November 10, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus social distancing protocol, the experts agreed that Lagos state – the largest sub-economy in Nigeria and the fifth largest in Africa – is ripe to go cashless. “This is enough for the governor to establish the Lagos Cashless scheme”, the Fintech specialists said.
Themed, Setting Agenda for Cashless Lagos, the annual Lagos Fintech Week attracted a large number of Fintech mavens from Nigeria, Africa and Europe.
With a widespread telecommunications infrastructure coverage, strong retail and transport networks, the experts noted, Lagos state has enumerated population into the national identity scheme, growing adoption for digital finance and robust participation ecosystem, significant diversity of financial service players.
In his keynote remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, declared that the cashless policy is the right way to go. He added that consumers, corporations and government are the ultimate beneficiaries of the policy.
He said for the consumers, the cashless policy will increase convenience, offer more service options and reduce the risk of cash-related crimes while providing opportunity for cheaper access to banking services, credit and financial inclusion.
“For corporations, the cashless policy will foster access to capital, reduce revenue leakage and cash handling costs. For the government, the cashless policy will increase tax collections, push a greater financial inclusion agenda, increase economic development and lower the rate of money laundering activities”, he said.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, in his keynote address lauded the key role being played by the Lagos State government in developing solutions that are helping to drive broader financial inclusion nationwide.
Llewellyn-Jones noted that the rate of financial access and inclusion is much higher in Lagos State than in the rest of the country. He, however, observed that more should be done.
“If there is a silver bullet for financial inclusion, but also cashless Lagos, it is mobile money. The new Payment Service Banks will serve people who the traditional banks regard as too poor to be of interest.
“Mobile money transfers are also suitable for small payments. Among our neighbours in West Africa, mobile money is gaining traction in Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Ghana. The proportion of people with mobile money accounts ranges from 33 to 45 per cent in Ghana. In Kenya, more than 80 per cent of the population has mobile money accounts whereas it is only just starting in Nigeria,” he explained.
Llewellyn-Jones said that based on some recent modelling for UKAid, the proper roll out of mobile money could add about 46 million people to the Nigerian financial system, boost GDP by 12 per cent and create three million jobs in Nigeria.
The founder and CEO of SystemSpecs – owner and operator of Remita, HumanManager and Paylink payment system, John Obaro – who was represented by the Executive Director, Deremi Atanda, said there must be a clearly articulated 5-year vision (2021-2025) for Cashless Lagos.
According to him, the 5-year vision must be reflective of the current reality and emerging trends. “The Cashless Lagos scheme should be owned and managed by Lagos State government in a strong partnership with the private sector. A focused, professional, non-political Cashless Lagos team should be put in place to drive the scheme,” he emphasized.
The Executive Director and Business Head for Cloud Interactive Platforms, a subsidiary of the Cloud Interactive Media Group (Nigeria and Ghana), Olajide Mafolabomi, said that building a robust and agile Fintech infrastructure in Lagos will require the right mix of players, services and initiatives.
According to Mafolabomi, telecommunication operators and Financial Service Providers (FSPs) need to work closely to reduce access cost, onboarding and accelerate the transition through joint mass education.
He urged that to promote inclusion to the unbanked, a digital strategy is a critical key success factor. “A localized identity management system that provides a bridge to the citizen and an opportunity to introduce government-to-person (G2P) services to the wider population is very imperative in Lagos state,” he submitted.
In similar vein, the Group CEO, Innovectives Group Data Collection, Emmanuel Agha explained that with the cashless transport system, transit agencies can collect more ridership data.
“The data will assist the agencies in planning transit service. It can also be used to create other tools that support transportation planning efforts,” Agha added.
The Deputy CEO, Industry Vertical Solutions, Interswitch Group, Jonah Adams noted that the potential value of Automated Fare Collection (AFC) in Lagos is over N1.9 trillion annually.
According to Adams, this AFC figure cut across the Lagos State government-operated Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] buses, BRT private, para-urban buses, tricycles, water ferries, private cars and taxis.
”Any AFC scheme in the state must be multi-modal, integrated while leveraging on the national payment system rails already in place”, he said.
Hicolumn Launches E-commerce Tech, Offers Unparalleled Services
Hicolumn, e-commerce Tech that connects consumers to their choice stores close to their neighbourhood has been launched in Lagos.
The unveiling of the ground-breaking e-commerce Tech was held in grand style with a drone delivering the Hicolumn package to top-notch Nollywood celebrity, Tayo Sobola, popularly called Sotayo Gaga, indicating the swiftness and innovation behind the cutting-edge marketplace.
Highlights of the event includes free shopping vouchers to fans of the celebrity and the online shopping she made, which was delivered swiftly before 20 minutes, an attestation of Hicolumn’s prompt delivery service.
The e-commerce tech, which is a mobile app, is designed to give visibility to neighbourhood stores and connect them directly to customers anywhere, anytime. It comprises of the Hicolumn Customer, Merchant and Delivery Apps respectively which are connected together and work as one Enterprise Resources Programme.
Speaking at the launch, chairman of Hicolumn, Benjamin Madu, said the e-commerce Tech is designed to revolutionise the online market in Africa, and offers stores, merchants, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with existing and verifiable businesses, the chance of participating on the platform by downloading the app within 30 minutes, and absolutely free of any registration charges.
It also gives them the opportunity of leveraging the internet to serve or sell to their existing and prospective customers without the customers physically visiting the shops.
In his remark, Hicolumn’s Co-Founder and CEO,, Uche Elekwachi, said the platform will transform the online market in Nigeria and Africa with its innovative mobile app that will give merchants the ability to sell their goods to widely dispersed customers.
He said the e-commerce Tech has come to the rescue of merchants and store owners, to become super strong, active online and not to lose their business focus to foreign competitors currently entering their domain, especially in this period of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when shopping is mostly done online.
Highlighted benefits that accrue to merchants and stores partnering with Hicolumn are increased profitable sales; reduced cost of operation with less than five employees; proper inventory management; and elimination of threat posed by the current e-commerce system.
Visa Mulls Digitisation Of B2B Payments With Virtual Card
Visa has joined forces with Conferma Pay to launch a suite of B2B payment solutions to help improve cashflow for businesses and eliminate manual processes.
Visa Commercial Pay will offer businesses a host of card-programme management capabilities, including on-demand virtual card issuance to employees’ mobile devices via an app.
The suite also includes Visa Commercial Pay Travel to help businesses centrally manage their business travel spend, such as air and hotel, and Visa Commercial Pay B2B, which helps companies better manage cash flow and capture enhanced data for reconciliation and reporting capabilities.
Kevin Phalen, global head, Visa Business Solutions, says: “The launch of Visa Commercial Pay in partnership with Conferma Pay allows us to accelerate B2B money movement away from slow, outdated methods to fast, data-rich, secure digital payments.
Flutterwave Unveils Policy To Protect Online Shoppers
Flutterwave, Africa’s fast-rising payments technology company, has announced the launch of its ‘Payment Protection Promise’, a new policy that protects customers when shopping online and dealing with merchants on its payment platform.
The policy acts as a money-back guarantee to shoppers when an item or service purchased does not arrive, is faulty, damaged on arrival or does not match the item that was listed.
The new policy is part of the company’s attempt to alleviate the fears of online shoppers and boost their confidence and sense of security when using Flutterwave’s payment solutions.
The Payment Protection Promise is primarily meant to further strengthen the growing online shopping culture in Africa and displace the scepticism often associated with patronising e-commerce businesses.
The policy is being kick-started in Nigeria and covers only Nigerian transactions with a transaction value starting from N10,000 and below.
Founder & CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, stated that, “the goal of the Flutterwave Payments Protection Promise is to ensure that all who shop online and pay with Flutterwave are confident that they can shop safely and get value for their money. We understand that with the rising online shopping culture in Africa, there are bound to be issues of lack of trust in online businesses and we are using this policy to close that gap.”
He added that “When anyone sees the Flutterwave logo while shopping online, we want them to feel safe and confident knowing that they are covered. This policy is also beneficial to our merchants as it will boost patronage and sales due to increased customer confidence and assurance of value.”
According to Agboola, under the Flutterwave Payments Protection Promise, merchants can file counterclaims when wrongly accused. However, merchants found to be repeatedly fraudulent will be delisted from Flutterwave’s payment platforms. The company has highlighted various means through which customers can dispute a transaction, they can either self-serve through the Flutterwave dispute page or make use of Flutterwave’s support channels.
Flutterwave has remained in the frontline of improving small businesses and securing customers through innovation. In April, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic which led to restriction of movement, the company introduced the Flutterwave store to keep small businesses afloat. In the wake of the recent unrest in Lagos, the Company also partnered with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to rebuild affected businesses.
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