Man Proposes, Sapa Disposes
“In the beginning, there was sapa.”
Photo Credit: The Sherriff’s Office
For as long as humankind has existed, there has been some form of trade and exchange. The hunter exchanged bushmeat with the farmer who had yam. An abundance of both meant that through a gentleman’s agreement, everybody was okay. As the population grew, it became necessary to store value beyond casual exchanges and boom; we created money. But the problem is that it’s not every time there is money on ground; many times, the ground is dry and needs wetting before the rain. So, people started to call in favours to purchase goods and pay for them later, in cash or kind. That’s how the credit system was born: a system to correct the unequal distribution of income and produce.
No Credit Today; Come Tomorrow
“Credit is for only those who are 95 years old and above, if they come with their grandmother.”
~Frustrated Iya Wale
The credit system probably worked well until people stopped repaying, despite being known by their creditors. This created a need to design a more structured approach for giving credit, especially for potential borrowers that don’t have prior relationships with lenders. It was also crucial for people who had money in excess (tatibiji) to find the best way to give people who did not have enough (sapalonas). The credit system is beyond religious beliefs, skin colour or location—it affects all of us! Today, credit is even more critical as our needs outweigh our income and the inflation continues to go up.
Credit is a major driver for economic growth. In 2020, the year of lesafere, credit applications grew by over 45% as the effect of the pandemic ate in. And this figure only covers registered credit institutions; the number is even higher with informal credit schemes. If not for my grandma that came through with the urgent 2K, who knows how I would have survived this year.
Today, credit goes beyond cash; it is ingrained in all facets of business and financial activities. Telcos, for example, made a huge profit from giving airtime and data credit to their customers in 2020. We heard that the yellow network made around ₦44bn from subscribers who borrowed data or airtime. Although there are some biases against taking credit in Nigeria, don’t dull; credit is very importanter. Imagine if the federal government can’t borrow money; if the government needs credit to run the economy, biko, who are you?
“If you are in Rome, behave like the Romans, but the minute you enter Lagos, shine your eyes.”
~Uncle Tobunsun from Agege
Because of the demand for credit, we have seen the expansion of the loan shark industry, giving credit at ridiculous rates due to high demand and, as usual, fraudulent activities. We can’t vouch for everything you see out there, though we acknowledge that there are good ones. However, there is one that blows our minds; it caters to all aspects of credit that you, our Serians, will ever need. In developed countries, a credit score allows citizens to access credit, per the structured approach we mentioned earlier. Since data collection isn’t strong in NIgeria, our friends at Sterling developed a similar system known as Specta Score.
Specta Score enables… That’s not even the best part; it helps you to access credit in less than five minutes through our spectacular product we call Specta. There’s more—; PaywithSpecta, for people who don’t want money, but prefer to purchase goods on credit directly from the comfort of their homes.
It’s not rocket science to access credit today; be reliable, have a steady source of income, bad as e bad save consistently and repay on time. And for those who collect loans from different places and run street, there are credit bureaus that make it easy to track you down. We have technology to thank for the growth in credit disbursement, and at critical times like this, we are glad that there is a solution for us. So for people that don’t like to pay in full, we gat you!