MasterCard, centre extend e-payments to MSMEs

MasterCard and Grooming Centre have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in a move to extend electronic payment solutions to 500,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in semi-urban and rural parts of Nigeria.

According to a statement, MasterCard and Grooming Centre will also work with various financial institutions to roll out payment devices including mobile Point of Sale terminals, enabling these MSMEs to accept debit, prepaid and credit cards for the first time. It said under the MoU, the Grooming Centre would pre-load the funds onto MasterCard prepaid cards. Business owners could use their cards to withdraw funds at millions of the ATMs or pay for goods and services at merchants accepting MasterCard payments in Nigeria and over 210 countries globally. Grooming Centre is a Nigerian microfinance organisation that seeks to address the gaps in financial services by providing affordable loans to women-owned MSMEs.

And up until now, it had disbursed these payments by cash or cheques, which were found to be less efficient than electronic means, the statement noted. The Chief Executive Officer of Grooming Centre, Mr. Godwin Nwabunke, said, “There are a huge number of the MSMEs that do not have access to any form of formal financial tools or services. Through the provision of electronic payments, these business owners will enjoy more convenient access to capital, be able to better manage and track their spending, save for future needs and protect themselves against unforeseen risks.” The Vice President and Area Business Head for West Africa, MasterCard, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, stated that through the partnership, they would enable financial inclusion in communities where consumers had largely been unable to use formal payment products and had to rely on cash.

“These payment solutions will help these MSMEs to reduce the amount of cash they currently handle, increase sales, and improve cash flow while making it easier and safer for their customers to pay.” It stated that a recent research carried out by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency and the National Bureau of Statistics showed the MSMEs represented 95 per cent of registered businesses in Nigeria and accounted for 75 per cent of the workforce. “The MSMEs are essential to the growth of Nigeria’s economy. Our collaboration with Grooming Centre not only supports the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy, but it will help this vital sector to connect more efficiently to the national and global economy,” said Ojomuyide.