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By Prince Osuagwu
Last week, a number of notable ICT organisations including the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, telecom companies, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and second national operator, Globacom rallied round another Nigeria ICT outfit, Logica Media group, which sought to bring the right attitudinal change to the issue of cashless society initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

For the organisations, only the right perception can best prepare a people, who have over decades, played in a heavily cash based society like Nigeria, for this change.

With a purpose of examining how the Nigerian Telecoms Consumer will be affected by the Mobile Payment platform being promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria as a means of achieving a cashless society, the organisers wove the theme of the symposium around: 'Moving towards a cashless society: What Behavioural change expected from Telecom Consumers?'

Selected to thrash out issues around the theme was the Director Consumer affairs burueau of the NCC, Mrs Mary Uduma.

In her speech, Mrs Uduma admitted that there is no doubt that the advent of Electronic Payment System has resulted in numerous benefits for consumers and suppliers in both developed and developing economies.

For her, to harness such benefits in Nigeria, there was need for behavioural and attitudinal change in the mind set of consumers towards the initiative. To achieve that, her view was that massive sensitization and awareness for the project was key. However, the sensitization and awareness campaign should be localized in order to reach all Nigerians.

She said, 'consumers need to be sensitized in order to eliminate suspected fears of failure of this laudable initiative. Perception and trust can shape the adoption of branchless banking by the Consumer. On the other hand, users of mobile money must understand that one of its greatest values is not just the convenience, but the price.  So, users need to have an accurate perception of the way mobile financial services can solve concrete financial pain points in their lives'.

Uduma who was represented at the event by Emilia Nwokoro, also added that 'making electronic transactions more attractive from a tax dispensation perspective, will change Consumer behaviour towards electronic payments, reducing cash and indirectly leading to growth.

People would literally have a bank account with mobile money through their mobile phones but this time, their current account number will be their mobile phone number.

At the macro level, it enlarges consumer market, and thus contributes to economic growth. I am sure you are all aware of the tremendous advantages of e-ticketing, it enhances transparency and facilitates better price discovery.

Today, we have more people with telephone than those with bank accounts. Mobile Banking will be a way to bridge that gap to see that every mobile phone owner can have a bank account'.

Meanwhile in his earlier welcome speech, chief executive officer, Logica Group, organisers of the event, Otunba Abiodun Ajiboye applauded participants for taking the issue of behavioural change seriously, saying that 'Moving towards a cashless society',was not by accident but a way to further sensitize the people at the grassroots to this change.