Since the introduction of Mobile Money in Nigeria over five years ago, Nigerians have been skeptical about the safety of their monies in the payment system, which explains why it has not been generally accepted in the country, with analysts putting it’s penetration level at one percent.
Following this low patronage, experts have identified lack of adequate communication, as one key reason why the scheme is still down. They made this known during the fourth annual ‘Brand and Marketing Conference’ of Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN), themed ‘Mobile Money in Nigeria,’ held in Lagos, on Friday.
Moderator of the panel and Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, hinted on the need for licensed Mobile Money operators to ensure that “we get to a stage where we have a Mobile Money kiosk located in every street,” especially in the rural areas because they need it more than those in the urban centres.
Corroborating him, Emeka Oparah, Director, Sponsorship, Events and Public Relations (PR) at Airtel Nigeria cited his own village, Mbaise, where people mostly traveled to Owerri the Imo State capital to do their banking transactions, adding that, until “you target the masses using the medium they understand, you are making no progress.”
“When mobile phone was launched in the country back in 2001, Nigeria was in the bottom three in the word, but today, there is a dramatic increase. It is unfortunate that it has not been replicated in the Mobile Money.”
On his part, Emmanuel Agha, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Innovatives blamed the failure on the way it was first launched in the country, because an “average Nigerian is skeptical when his money is involved. When Mobile Money was introduced, we didn’t sell it properly, we sold it as a wallet, a SIM card, so people felt, once the SIM is lost, their money is gone,” hence the need for reorientation.
To the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of eMaginations, Sola Fanawopo, the success and failure of the scheme lies in the ability of the media to properly communicate it, saying that the role of the media is “90 percent success of the Mobile Money, the rest is just 10 percent.”
He also explained that contrary to what many people think, “Mobile Money is completely different from Mobile Banking,” while you need an account with the bank to be able to bank on mobile, you only need your phone number for Mobile Money. Adding “we journalists don’t know enough about mobile money, therefore cannot effectively communicate it.” He stressed on the need to create the Mobile Money beat.