At least 35million Nigerians do not yet have access to telecommunications and digital financial services.
This was made known on Tuesday by the executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, in Abuja during an event to commemorate World Consumer Rights Day 2022, with the theme “Fair Digital Finance.”
The NCC boss emphasised the need for increased investments in fixed and wireless infrastructure to boost financial inclusion.
“As many as 35 million Nigerians are yet to have access to telecommunications services, and by implication, they lack access to digital financial services,” Danbatta said.
“This situation denies these Nigerians access to digital financial inclusion. It is a challenge that is attributable to the inadequacy of both wireless and fibre connectivity infrastructure.
“The fact remains that more citizens will embrace the digital financial culture when they have access to telecom services in the distant, isolated, unserved and underserved communities where they dwell.”
“We are therefore conscious of the urgency of increasing investment in both fixed and wireless infrastructure,” Danbatta said.
“This will make the target of at least 80 percent level of financial inclusion in about four years possible.
“The commission has thus licensed the infrastructure companies (Infracos), which are to provide the fibre from landing ports to the hinterland of the country. A key focus in this regard is to provide broadband connectivity, especially in the 774 local government areas in the country.
“There would be further actions to enable Infracos to commence operations as the commission recognises that fibre is the long-term solution to the volume of transactions in the financial services sector.”
Danbatta who called on stakeholders in the digital finance sector to protect consumers from financial losses, disclosed that the commission would soon establish telecom consumer assistance, resolution and enquiries (TELCARE) desks at strategic locations across the country to provide information to telecom consumers.