By Peter Egwuatu, Nkiruka Nnorom, Princewill Ekwujuru, Providence Emmanuel Elizabeth Adegbesan, & Juliet Umeh
Adopting digital economy would further boost Nigeria’s annual Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to N3.7 trillion by 2025.
Director General/Chief Executive, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dr. Issa Pantami, disclosed this at the Vanguard Economic Summit Series in Lagos with the theme: “E-economy: Nigeria’s Emerging Digital Economy and the Role of Financial Technology.”
He stated: “Economic potentials for FinTech in Nigeria is vast. Financial Inclusion Summit of 2016 report reveals that the use of digital finance could boost annual GDP by as much as N3.7trillion by 2025 in emerging economies like Nigeria. This presents opportunity to add 10 to 14 percent to country’s GDP.
“FinTech has the potential to un-bundle and restructure the existing financial services and pave way for globalized financial services through enhancing financial inclusion, not only in advanced economies but also in emerging economies like Nigeria where financial services are not as widely spread but smart phone usage is increasing. The fact that we have a large number of smart phone usages in Nigeria makes it easy for us to scale up in the area of FinTech.”
Pantami also said that the menace of cyber crime has helped the country up its game in terms of cyber security which has also helped to advance its FinTech beyond expectation.
He stated: “FinTech in Nigeria is more advanced than you think, this is because the financial sector have up their game and by upping their game they have made the system more robust.
“We have the promotion of government digital services, we want what is going on in the FinTech sector to go on in the private sector, but there has to be a lot of interfacing with the government.
“We want to ensure that government digital services are robust enough to support the FinTech sector.
“Based on what we have been doing in the last one year, right now we have helped the government to save over N10 billion.
“Foreign companies come to Nigeria they see the benefit and the opportunity and they want to take advantage of it, but we want to ensure that it is not a situation where they come with large proportion of their own expatriate.
“We want a situation where Nigerians would have a significant proportion. If we allow them to bring in expatriates if something happens tomorrow and they leave, what happens to us? We want to ensure Nigerians are capable and bring in more people into the workforce.
“We emphasize the importance of cyber security to ensure things are secured on the cyber space. We don’t want a situation where only those in the urban can access this technology so we are trying to incorporate people that ordinarily would have been excluded in normal circumstances.
“As it become harder to delineate between the traditional and digital economy, it is essential for stakeholders and businesses to support government’s initiatives that seek to address policy issues related to technological and communication infrastructure and services” he said.