By Adedapo Adesanya
One of Nigeria’s financial technology companies, Clickatell, has collaborated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch a USSD channel for eNaira, the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), as part of the country’s drive to make basic banking accessible to all Nigerians, ultimately driving financial inclusion.
The eNaira was launched in October 2021 when President Muhammadu Buhari said Africa’s first central bank-backed digital currency would help boost remittances, foster cross-border trade, and help his government make welfare payments more easily.
With financial inclusion at the heart of the eNaira goals, President Buhari also said that he believed the CBDC would increase the gross domestic product (GDP) in the country by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
Speaking on this, Ms Uzo Nwani, Clickatell Commercial Director, West Africa, said, “Introducing the USSD short code allows non-banked Nigerians, many of whom do not have smartphones, to access cashless banking services and is a big win for the stated goals of delivering meaningful financial inclusion. Clickatell’s role in making this a reality has been one of the most important achievements of our engagements in Nigeria.”
CBN is working with partners who are committed to taking advantage of this new technology for continuous innovation toward delivering exciting new features
The new USSD channel allows Nigerians to use the *997# short code to create their eNaira wallet.
Through this short code, users can easily check balances and transfer funds. They will also be able to buy airtime or data for themselves or friends and family. Safeguarding their wallets is also easy on the channel and users can check and update their information, change and reset their pins, or even block the wallet if necessary.
“The USSD channel is a vital part of our journey towards realizing our financial inclusion vision. We see the eNaira as a leap forward in the evolution of money.
“Thus, CBN is working with partners committed to taking advantage of this new technology for continuous innovation towards delivering exciting new features,” the CBN Deputy Governor on Economic Policy, Mr Kingsley Obiora, said.
Due to the rapid growth of smartphones, most Nigerians are currently using feature phones, making an excellent case for the USSD offering. The CBN is counting on the new channel making rapid inroads towards getting most of the 30 per cent of unbanked Nigerians into the formal banking system.
As part of its efforts, the CBN is working hard to boost awareness and education around the new digital currency. It has offered an incentive of N200 airtime for the first 100,000 users to onboard using the eNaira USSD feature.
Looking ahead, Ms Nwani says the Clickatell solution ideally positions the system for new and collaborative additions to help boost the eNaira services.
“Our Chat Flow product provides a robust platform to support rapid innovation. Digital currencies provide measurable customer benefits including lower costs and a simple user experience, and adding new innovative features over time will attract more customers.”
“There is no doubt that the CBN has set the benchmark for financial inclusion in Africa, and we look forward to being part of that journey,” she added.
Ecobank Assures Customers Sustained Excellent Service Delivery
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Customers of Ecobank Nigeria Limited have been assured of excellent service delivery as the bank celebrates the annual customer service week.
“For us as a bank, we are inspired by your confidence and support to us in numerous ways. We are proud to celebrate your trust in our products and services and use and reliance on them across our touch points. Indeed, your word-of-mouth recommendations of them make us delighted to serve you better,” the Managing Director of the company, Mr Bolaji Lawal, said in a statement issued by the lender.
The financial institution lauded its customers over their continued patronage and dedication to the brand, assuring that the bank will continue to meet and surpass their expectations with product offerings.
Mr Lawal said customers’ loyalty to the bank over the years has made the Pan African bank one of the most preferred financial institutions in the country.
He pointed out that the choice of this year’s theme, Celebrate Service particularly resonates with Ecobank’s philosophy that service is a game changer.
“It is the reason we are constantly investing in our technology and equipping our staff with the requisite skills and resources to provide you with the relevant solutions you need and cutting-edge banking experience,” he stressed.
Mr Lawal reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to implement their feedbacks, noting that “we will continue to be relentless in our efforts to make financial services readily and easily accessible to you.
“As your preferred financial partner, we are happy to listen to you and remain committed to tailoring our products and services to suit your lifestyle and power your aspirations. We will continue to evolve with you and innovate our products and services to make banking a more rewarding experience for you.”
Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers daily. It is celebrated annually during the first full week of October. This year’s celebration holds from October 3 to 7.
Unity Bank, Lagos Food Bank Address Hunger, Malnutrition
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Food items worth millions of Naira have been donated to Ogundimu Ilaje, a riverine community in the suburb of Lagos, by Unity Bank Plc and Lagos Food Bank.
No fewer than 150 cartons of food items tagged Unity Box of Hope were distributed to hundreds of households in the underserved community.
The gesture is a collaborative initiative to support and promote interventions addressing hunger and malnutrition in communities.
It is also part of the strategic Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) of Unity Bank aimed at sustaining the improvement of health and social well-being of communities it operates.
The lender, in a statement, further said it supported the programme because its goals align with the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, a non-profit organisation committed to providing welfare programmes to indigent people.
The donation comes on the heels of the worsening economic situation in the country, especially with the soaring food inflation at 23.12 per cent as of August 2022, which has alleviated hunger in many households.
Addressing the beneficiaries at the venue of food distribution, Mr Hillary Oguebo, Unity Bank’s Head, Corporate Resources, said the bank, as an agric-focused financial institution, was fulfilling its core mandate in line with Bank’s drive for food security, adding that the Bank is pleased to donate the food items to the community to help ameliorate the impact of the rising cost of food on them.
“Unity Bank has a financing business model that is principally anchored, amongst others, on boosting agricultural production, and it is also useful for those who have not benefitted from the bank’s Agric financing package to receive direct food intervention as it is being done today.
“Due to a lot of factors, especially growing insecurity, food production has been impacted severely, leading to historical food inflation. That has left many households struggling and battling hunger. So, this is a thoughtful gesture that we hope to sustain to reach as many Nigerians who deserve this form of intervention at this critical period,” he stated.
With a score of 28.3, the Global Hunger Index ranks Nigeria 103rd out of 116 and classifies the country’s hunger level as serious. This is a result of the country’s growing food insecurity, which has risen to more than 80 per cent from less than 20 per cent about three decades ago.
Unity Bank has led some of the most important critical interventions in the agric sector in Nigeria in the recent past and boasts significant investment in the Agric sector over the past six years and a track record of financing smallholder farmers that spur food production through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Through a CSR initiative that feeds households in underserved communities, the Bank is redefining CSR through strategic interventions that align perfectly with its business model.
FCCPC Records Decline in Complaints from Customers of Digital Loan Sharks
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it has recorded a significant reduction in the number of consumer complaints regarding illegal digital money lending activities.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, said this in a statement via the agency’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.
Mr Irukera attributed the reduction in complaints from customers of digital loan sharks to the enforcement embarked on by the FCCPC joint taskforce.
“I agree that some activities of digital money lending institutions have destroyed relationships, whether professional or personal, and that is why we are doing all we can.
“I will be the first person to agree that there is a problem out there.
“Messages are still coming, harassment is still coming, but frankly, we have been tracking this for a while,” he added.
The FCCPC boss said that the complaints were the lowest recorded in the last two years, following several enforcements embarked by the commission.
“This is the lowest it has been in two years. From March, when we started this enforcement, there has been a significant reduction.
“I will say that after our enforcement last month, we counted probably less than 25 per cent looking at the tracking of the complaints that came in.
“But 25 per cent is not it, we will keep doing what we are doing, even adding more,” Mr Irukera said.
He said that the task force would continue to set the guard rails and make the loan shark businesses difficult.
“Wherever we find their bank accounts, we lock it down, whatever applications they are using, we go to google, we take them down,’’ Mr Irukera said.
He said that in pursuant to the order of the commission, Google had taken down over 70 applications, and the FCCPC had locked out over 60 bank accounts.
The executive vice chairman said Flutterwave had also taken down a dozen applications.
Mr Irukera appealed to members of the public to send their complaints relating to illegal money lending activities to email@example.com.
Latest News on Business Post
- Again, FrieslandCampina Pulls Down OTC Bourse by 0.23% October 6, 2022
- Equity Market Falls 0.09% as Investors Lose N25bn October 6, 2022
- Naira Appreciates to N733/$1 at Black Market, Weakens to N437.50/$1 at I&E October 6, 2022
- Oil Market Gains After OPEC+ Agrees Significant Output Cuts October 6, 2022
- CNPP Doubts NNPC’s N674bn FY’21 Profit, Calls for Investigation October 5, 2022
- Rush for Geregu Stocks Raises Price by 10% in First Trading Session October 5, 2022
- Oyo Government Absorbs 2,000 Teachers October 5, 2022
- Airtel Touching Lives Season 7 Positioned to Achieve Sustainability Agenda October 5, 2022
- Competing for Service – a Customer’s Choice October 5, 2022
- Haul247 Moves to Provide Haven for Trucks, Warehouses October 5, 2022