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Adamu Musa Mele is the managing director of a Nigerian-based Financial Technology (FinTech) Company, Innovate-1-Pay Limited which deals with money transfer among other FinTech services. The company recently won an award in Europe for being an efficient and reliable firm. He spoke to HARRISON EDEH on the company’s efforts to ensure Diasporan Nigerians explore remittance option through the services provided by the company. Excerpts:
May we know what your company is into?
It is a Financial Technology (FinTech) company which deals in payment of bank notes business, International Money Transfer, and other financial inclusions.
What is your role in financial inclusion and FinTech based on the cashless policy of CBN compared to competition of Western Union and beyond; how do you want to break even?
We actually come to block some gaps that have existed prior to our coming into the system, like I told you earlier on, Innovate 1 Pay is basically into FinTech services that has to do with International Money Transfer, trading across all channels be it merchants, individuals and other services that has to do with trade links using technology.
We have our footprint in virtually many countries currently were we handle most of Online Integrated Solution, (OIS) which has 26 lounges across the World where we operate in terms of business and services in the areas of providing visas for people coming to Nigeria, one of our sister companies handles that and Innovate-1-Pay is the payment platform that virtually handles that aspect.
Here, locally in Nigeria, we just recently been awarded the International money transfer licence by the CBN as there is a huge gap particularly as we just came in now to ensure that we service largely our Diaspora Nigerians who are scattered in Europe, America and so many countries around the World. Being a Nigerian company, we hope to have networks in all those areas for they to remit there funds to a more secured, friendly and efficient manner to all their loved ones way back home in Nigeria.
How are you coping in a country like Nigeria considering policy changes?
In the Technology World, our business is a fast moving one, technology changes with time, so we adapt to changes in the society and from that standpoint, we are tailored to work in virtually every climate, we are mindful of changes, be it political, economic or otherwise in any location that we found ourselves. We want to maintain standard and we have a very strong corporate governance that is being implemented virtually across the World and we try as much as possible to give back to society, we do corporate social responsibility, we go into any society that promote free trade and give opportunities for entrepreneurs to thrive.
How are you playing into huge remittances coming into Nigeria? Do you liaise with the Diaspora Commission?
That is exactly what we want to do and we have offices in all countries where Nigerians reside all over the World. The next thing we are trying to do is to work with Diaspora Commission headed by Abike Dabiri. We want to key in to that to bring in the Diaspora Nigerians closer home. Through our platform, we intend to form contact with some individual companies and some charitable organisations across the world. We met some recently when we were awarded the Euro Knowledge award at the London Parliament recently. We met Nigerians that are doing well there through some formal or informal organisations and with those channels; we believe we will drive home the remittance drive for much of our Disapora people.
How significant is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nigeria’s economy?
You don’t look at the economy at the contest of currency, you look at the opportunity it entails in any given economy, as Nigeria is opening up the private sector, the economy, giving opportunities for FDI to really invest, that really provides opportunities for money to move and money moves were values is.
We have seen sectors being opened up in the Nigerian economy in the areas of power, agriculture and so many other areas. We have seen many people trying to come and invest in this country. In all this is movement of capital in the form of US dollars which is the largest legal tender in the World.
Being a FinTech company executive, what is your advice to government on minimising or taming cyber crime in the country, otherwise called Yahoo-yahoo?
Cyber crime is a very serious crime all over the world. All governments without any exceptions are doing a lot in order to combat it. I have read a couple of news from Nigerian Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which is a government agency superintending technology and Internet Telecommunication infrastructure of government by setting up very strong regulations on how most technology companies operate in the country and for the infrastructure to be protected is very key as that is how cyber crime get under way. Even recently, even from the Central Bank of Nigeria perspective, they are talking about how the cyber crime is being intensified through E-Force in some financial institutions, but companies on their own, they are coming up with varied measures to counter-balance such kind of intrusion into their systems, when we have a national outlook, how to really address that will go a long way as a whole, as a country. We should have a coordinated effort from the private sector perspective but from the government to have frontal view on how we able really minimise to a great extent cyber crime in the country.
How do you think government should improve the private sector?
It is the responsibility of government for entrepreneurs to thrive in any given economy, and it is very simple and easy, make ease of doing business good. We have seen how the government has improved issues in terms of doing business, what we need to do is to really try harder and do much more by opening up the economy by also reducing some bottle necks in how companies are really registered, how they really rectify their returns, strengthen regulations be making it proactive rather than reactive and also improve corporate engagements with all levels of government that deal with corporate like CBN, SEC, NDIC, NSE among others. This will do a lot more if more engagement with the private sector is being driven from the government perspective; in any economy, it is the private sector that normally opens up the economy.
You floated a company and in a short time, you won an award in Europe; what is the secret?
It is because we are operating in Nigeria which is our headquarters, but we operate globally; the award we won by Euro Knowledge took cognizance of that of our footprints in all the areas of human endeavour where we operate, and they have seen our footprints in all those locations and I think that is really what informed them giving us that award.
What is your reaction on the currency swap between Nigeria’s Naira and Chinese Yuan?
It is a very good agreement as it informs the government’s decision to encourage trade between us and China. They want to reduce the problem and make this an incentive for people to access the Yuan.
How can Foreign Direct Investment be improved to benefit the economy in Nigeria?
Open up the economy, making things much more easy, remove bottlenecks of how things are being done in the areas of business. That does not mean that we should relax but be mindful of very strong corporate governance on how things are being done, but in doing that we should adopt a very seamless, easy approach, employ technology, be mindful of how business thrives, that is the most critical aspect of it. We should look at our tax laws, how we can open up the economy, how can we encourage FDI, every other country does that and Nigeria’s should not be an exception. That is the only way to complement government’s effort in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, we have young population, opening up the economy is the best option.