In a recent media parley, Mr. Segun Agbaje, the Chief Executive Officer of Guarantee Trust Holding Company (GTCO), emphasized the need for a significant reduction in the cost of data as a crucial step towards achieving financial inclusion in Nigeria.

During the event, Agbaje addressed the ongoing dispute between banks and telecommunication companies (telcos) concerning Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services and its impact on the nation’s financial inclusion objectives.

He argued that USSD is not the ultimate solution for financial inclusion, citing India as an example.

Highlighting the limitations of USSD as a cumbersome technology, Agbaje advocated for making data more affordable for everyone as the most effective means to foster financial inclusion.

He urged for a reduction in data costs, emphasizing that it would enable the adoption of superior technologies for enhanced financial literacy and access.

Agbaje expressed his concern over the rising cost of data in Nigeria compared to other economies, stressing that the focus on USSD has distracted from the underlying issue.

He called for concerted efforts to bring down data costs, which would ultimately render USSD obsolete.

He further noted that if USSD services were still desired, the responsibility of charging users should lie with the telcos rather than the banks.

Agbaje concluded by reiterating that data cost reduction is pivotal to achieving increased financial inclusion and literacy levels in Nigeria, urging stakeholders to address this concern and reduce exploitation in the country’s data market.

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