Best way to financial inclusion is to crash the cost of data- Segun Agbaje

The notion that the continuous application of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) in transferring funds would deepen the cashless policy being pursued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is not correct, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), Segun Agbaje, has said.

Agbaje, who spoke  in Lagos while presenting GTCO’s financials to the media, said the future, and the best way to have financial inclusion and increase literacy is to crash the cost of data, “so the data becomes more affordable.” He said what obtains in India is that it has the same demographics as Nigeria.

He said besides the huge associated cost, the technology driving USSD is clumsy, pointing out that internet banking is far more robust, and driven by superior technology.

The fight, or clapper by USSD, in his words, “has been a fantastic distraction to all of you by the telcos.”

If anything, he argued, “the banks are protecting you and saying to all of you, pay for successful transactions; do not pay for transactions that were not calculated on your account. What if you, as customers, want to take a swim? Perhaps we’ll let you pay. But I keep telling everybody who would listen. USSD is not the answer’’.

“All of you who use less data, or mobile banking, which is more advanced, which is easier to use, you need to get the cost of data down in Nigeria, the cost of data, compared to India, really we are being exploited.

“We should have the cost of data down so that we can increase inclusion, or we can increase our interest. So, I’m not going to get into this. If you want you can pay the telcos for USSD. For me, my clamour is that it should be technology at lower cost of data.

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