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Digital Payment Options Can’t Succeed Without Trust—Lawal



Akeem Lawal Interswitch Digital Payment Options

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

One of the things that have had a huge effect on the way human life is technology. It is one tool human has used to make life easier.

From the comfort of one’s home or office, items can be bought on the internet and payments made without having to go to a bank to withdraw cash for the is one of the purchase.

But despite this convenience technology offers, there are some persons who still do things the traditional way and they cannot be blamed.

In this interview, the Divisional CEO of Payments Processing at Interswitch, Mr Akeem Lawal, said stakeholders in the financial technology (fintech) industry must work tirelessly to build trust so as to make the digital payment options to be successful. Excerpts;

The SME sector in Africa is huge. In Nigeria alone, we have over 41 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). How important would you say this sector is to the growth and development of the African economy?

The SME sector is a potential game-changer for economic growth, especially in Nigeria. This is why it is important for stakeholders in that sector to provide simple solutions that enhance their ability to generate economic activities that will boost the community and national economy.

At Interswitch, we are committed to providing simple and scalable payment solutions for small and big businesses alike. The Quickteller Business platform is a testament to our commitment to make payments one less thing to worry about for our business users and their customers.

There seems to be a lot of activities within the payment, e-commerce and fintech sectors in recent years, with many new entrants as well as FDIs. What would be your fair assessment of the sectors? What should we expect, going forward?

When accessing the various sectors, we know that the Nigerian economy has been a beneficiary of foreign direct investment inflows since the 1970s. However, there is a need to diversify the Nigerian economy and reduce our dependence on oil. There is no doubt that a thriving industrial sector is pivotal to mass employment, improved skills and better wages, which will lead to a reduction in poverty.

Nigeria’s ICT sector has grown from less than one per cent of GDP in 2001 to almost 10 per cent of GDP today. The country is currently Africa’s biggest technology market and accounts for 23 per cent of internet users in Africa with 122 million people online in December 2018.

Nigeria has surpassed other countries in sub-Saharan Africa to emerge as a premier tech investment destination with 55 active tech hubs raising a total of $94.9 million, while South Africa raised $60.0 million with 59 active start-ups. The growth of the tech sector offers new possibilities for Nigeria’s growing labour force, in terms of employment and entrepreneurship.

Now, these sectors I have mentioned have found gaps to fill and are offering creative solutions to individuals and companies.

However, despite the fact that there are so many new players in these sectors, there is still so much more to be done.

Take e-commerce, for instance, you will be surprised that a good number of people are still not comfortable buying things online – putting in their card details and trusting that what they ordered is what they will get.

The same goes for other digital payment options like PoS. A lot of people would rather spend hours on ATM queues or travel long distances to get to a bank instead of walking up to a nearby money agent to withdraw or deposit money.

This means that stakeholders need to do more to gain the trust of customers. Everyone wants convenience but people also want to trust that convenience.

You can’t blame someone that has had series of failed/declined transactions at a PoS terminal and is referred back to his/her bank, then spends days and even weeks going back and forth with the bank, to be confident enough to want to make use of that channel again.

In the coming years, there will definitely be more growth in these various sectors, especially fintech. There will still be immense additions to mobile consumptions as two-thirds of the global population are mobile subscribers. There will be more adoption of new technology to grow businesses and create jobs. This adoption will provide data and big data is also quite important for decision making and creating smarter innovations.

I also foresee that more organisations will begin to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase efficiency and enhance productivity.

Recently, Interswitch introduced Quickteller Business, which is an upgrade of Interswitch Webpay. Why was the upgrade necessary?

The upgrade was necessary because the enhanced Quickteller Business platform broadens payment management capabilities for businesses and merchants of all sizes, allowing them to access a wide range of integrated payment offerings, ranging from disbursements to value financing.

Also, upgrading to the Quickteller Business platform enables small businesses, including social media entrepreneurs, to take their businesses online to become completely digital without having to go through the hassles of developing digital capabilities themselves.

With the ease of the Quickteller Business, users can focus on creating economic activities for themselves and their communities. One of the values added for using the Quickteller Business platform is that users are exposed to over five million consumers already using Quickteller for a variety of retail payments in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and the Gambia.

What are the add-ons and additional features that came with this upgrade?

We have a lot of add-ons and features, such as:

Storefronts – Quickteller Business allows business owners to create customized branded online store, display product images and videos and gives an incredible mobile experience for customers across all devices.

e-Billing and Invoicing – Quickteller Business enables businesses to automatically generate invoices, accept payments via the payment link embedded in the invoice. The invoice also helps the businesses track their sales.

Split Settlements – With Split Settlement, businesses can instruct Quickteller Business on how transactions should be settled into predefined bank accounts.

Developers (Sandbox) – Quickteller Business enables developers to try out the features of their apps on the platform before they are activated for real transactions.

Multiple Integration Plans – Quickteller Business is customizable and offers multiple integration plans for web and mobile SDKs. Explore Pop Up, Page Redirect and Inline for web developers as well as iOS and Android for Mobile integration options.

Detailed Transaction Reporting – Quickteller Business helps businesses have access to detailed reports of their transactions across all collection channels – Web, POS, QR, USSD.

Dispute Management – With Quickteller Business, businesses of all types and sizes can manage their transaction disputes and chargebacks.

Refunds – Where required, businesses can seamlessly initiate partial or full refunds from the transaction details page.

Quickteller Business was designed with SMEs in mind. What are the benefits they stand to enjoy by signing on to the platform?

There are lots of benefits for SMEs, although the benefits are also now extended to both SMEs and large corporate business.

First, they enjoy getting paid online without a website; from creating a payment link that is useful and unique for both single purchases and recurring payments. The link can be shared with their customers via WhatsApp, Instagram, email or SMS.

Secondly, it is compatible with all card types – Verve, Visa, Mastercard; all payment channels, QR, USSD and for integrating payments, it is compatible with WordPress, Web and Mobile SDKs.

Third, they will enjoy fast-tracked outstanding payment with digital invoices.  They can generate invoices on the go and get paid from any account via any channel. The invoicing feature has a payment link embedded to help receive payment seamlessly using our multi-payment methods and they can easily track from the portal once payment has been made.

What separates Quickteller Business from the pack?

The Quickteller Business platform is intuitive, robust and secure. Quickteller Business is an innovation and improvement of an already effective platform making it a more tested platform. The platform is built using world-standard fraud management solutions that help mitigate fraudulent transactions.

The Quickteller Business platform exposes its users to a ready market of over 5 million potential customers. The platform gives its users total control over its business, collection and every other thing in between.

What categories of business can sign on to Quickteller Business and how affordable is it for small businesses?

All types of businesses can sign up to the Quickteller Business platform – small businesses, large corporates and individuals. From the platform, businesses and individuals can receive payments from anyone, anywhere and everywhere.

Interestingly, these offers come at no cost. Yes, everything on the Quickteller Business platform is free and if you register your business between now and April 2021, you will also enjoy zero transaction fees.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via


Osun to Access $618m Creative, Digital Fund



osun state

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Osun state government has moved to launch a support desk for tech innovators and entrepreneurs in the state to access the recently launched $618 million fund by the federal government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Governor Ademola Adeleke, who directed the establishment of the fund, expressed the readiness of his government to tap into the opportunities in furtherance of the digital economy agenda of his administration.

The governor, whose position was recently affirmed by the Appeal Court, said his administration has created enabling environment for the Osun state tech ecosystem, citing the recent domestication of Nigeria’s Startup Act, the flag off of the state’s broadband fibre optic project, and the establishment of a Digital Advisory Board.

He said, “I am delighted to appreciate the African Development Bank, which has set up a $618 million fund to support the technology and creative sector in Nigeria. This is a great initiative spearheaded by Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the Nigerian President of the African Development Bank, in partnership with our Federal Government, I would like to commend him for his visionary leadership and dedication to the development of our country.”

He added, “I am confident that this fund will go a long way in supporting innovation, job creation, and economic growth in our country.

“As the Governor of Osun State, I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology has been instructed to set up a desk to assist all technology and creative sector entrepreneurs in Osun State in applying and accessing this fund. The desk will provide comprehensive guidance and support to all interested applicants, ensuring that the application process is seamless and efficient.

“We are also exploring partnerships with the African Development Bank to support programs in the technology and creative sector in our state. We will be reaching out to the bank soon to discuss how we can collaborate and leverage this fund and other opportunities to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Osun State.

“I commend the African Development Bank for domiciling the fund in the Bank of Industry to prevent it from being politicized. This is a great step towards ensuring that the fund is used for its intended purpose and will benefit the technology and creative sector in Nigeria.

“I encourage all technology and creative sector entrepreneurs in Osun State to engage directly with the Ministry and register as a stakeholder operating within the state. This is a significant opportunity for our entrepreneurs to grow their businesses while also contributing to the growth and development of our state”, he stated.

He called on residents to harness the potential of the technology and creative sector and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Osun.

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NIMASA, NCC Collaborate to Create Submarine Cable Regulation in Nigeria



NIMASA, NCC Collaborate to Create Submarine Cable Regulation in Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are collaborating to develop a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cables and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.

Submarine and cable operators in Nigeria have been notified of the soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Speaking at a pre-audit meeting of both organs of government in Lagos on submarine cable regulation, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the agency was committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.

He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.

According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.”

“NIMASA is developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of UNCLOS; which we have ratified, and NIMASA will be the agency responsible for its implementation.

“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another agency start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country, and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this,” he said.

On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.

Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Mr Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.

NIMASA and the NCC also agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.

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How Data Protection Policy In Nigeria Is Evolving To Secure Customers



Data protection policy

By Otori Emmanuel

Technology advancement has increased the value of data, and many businesses are willing to invest in it. These data are obtained from customers directly or indirectly. When data is directly gathered, customers are often asked for their consent, and they typically provide it. In contrast, information that is gained inadvertently may be gathered through tracking or linkages to sources that already have the consumers’ data. Businesses use this strategy to improve their products and for research purposes.

To prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, or misuse of user’s personal information, data privacy and data protection policies are in effect. The right of people to decide how their personal information is gathered, utilized, and shared is referred to as data privacy. It involves making sure that people are informed about the information being collected on them, how it is being used, and with whom it is shared. Data protection policies, on the other hand, are protocols set up to safeguard private data against exploitation or unauthorized access. They require putting technical and organizational mechanisms in place to safeguard the privacy, usability, and authenticity of user data and also to prevent its loss, destruction, or alteration.

Data protection policies usually include instructions for the collection, processing, storage, and disposal of data. They also include safeguards for personal data security, such as encryption, access restrictions, and regular backups. Data privacy and protection regulations are crucial in the contemporary digital age, as personal data is captured, processed, and exchanged more frequently than at any time before.

User Data Protection in Nigeria

The Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was decreed in 2019 with the aim to ensure that individuals have control over their personal data and that it is processed fairly and legally. The NDPR mandates that businesses processing personal data get the individual’s consent before processing their information. Additionally, they must take the necessary security precautions to safeguard personal data against theft, loss, and unauthorized access.

Nigeria has established the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in addition to the NDPR to handle issues with data privacy and cybersecurity. The NITDA is in charge of enforcing the NDPR and ensuring that businesses abide by the data protection laws. Moreover, the NITDA has created frameworks and recommendations to offer firms advice on how to put in place reliable cybersecurity and data protection buffers. These rules address subjects like privacy notices, effect analyses of data protection, and breach reporting.

In accordance with the NDPR, businesses must acquire consent from people before collecting their personal data and have strong security measures in place to safeguard it. Businesses must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) as part of the NDPR, who is responsible for ensuring that the law is upheld. Other laws in Nigeria, in addition to the NDPR, that deal with data protection are the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 and the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act of 2015. These laws strengthen the protection of personal information while also outlining the consequences of data protection laws infractions.

With a focus on safeguarding customer personal information and ensuring that businesses are held accountable for any violations by these laws, Nigeria’s data protection regulations are continuously improving.

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