The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and Chairman of the National Financial Inclusion Steering Committee, Godwin Emefiele has set a target of 95 per cent financial inclusion rate for Nigeria by 2024.
The plan is part of commitment to further enhance the level of financial inclusion in the country and by implication sustain inclusive economic growth.
The new target according to Emefiele, calls for institutions to re-strategise and refocus initiatives, policies and schemes that will accelerate the pace of delivery of their respective financial inclusion efforts.
The linkage between financial inclusion and economic development of developing countries has provided the impetus for countries to develop and implement improved strategies to financially include their unbanked citizens, the CBN has said.
In a report, the apex bank said a study by the World Bank revealed that there was a strong positive correlation between account penetration of various countries and their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
The CBN explained that High Income Countries with approximately 100 per cent of account penetration posted GDP per capital ranging from $25,000 above while Sub-saharan African Countries with less thank 65 per cent account penetration in most cases recorded GDP per capita less than $10,000.
The revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) places implementation focus on women, rural areas, youth, Northern Nigeria and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
In order to address the above disenfranchised demography, the CBN is seeking that for product development, financial service providers must now ensure that they understand the value proposition in catering to the unbanked and must actively and intentionally develop products that meet the needs of the unbanked, leveraging on experiences from informal financial service providers in rural regions.
Also, in financial education/consumer protection, there must now be a massive drive by stakeholders to ensure that customers are well educated on the products to en- sure trust and uptake of the products.
“Leverage Digital Platforms: Digital Technology must remain on the front burner of financial inclusion efforts in order to leap frog and achieve 95 per cent Financial inclusion rate by 2024. Proliferation of Agent Networks: Banking and mobile agents must be leveraged in order to reach remote and difficult to reach customers,” it said.
The CBN said achieving the targeted numbers in 2019 and 2020 according to the Roadmap, will leverage on posting of National Youth Service Corps members to branches of Deposit Money Banks, Microfinance Banks and Local Government are- as. Each youth corps member would be expected to bring in 200 new accounts by end of 2019 to reach the goal.
“In addition the banking and mobile money agents across Nigeria would be expected to undertake aggressive efforts to support new account opening in their respective catchment areas. An incentive package award system to encourage stakeholder activities in financial inclusion programmes has also been proposed and is in the works,” it said.
The award will cover the following categories: Microfinance Bank Branches, Banking Agents, Bank Branches, Financial Inclusion State Steering Committee (FISSCO) Regulators; Development Partners and Infrastructure providers.
The eight National Financial Inclusion Steering Commit- tee (NFISC) meeting took place on Thursday, 25th July, 2019.The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on behalf of Emefiele.
The Acting Chair of the Committee in her opening remarks started that the objective of financial inclusion remained the same which was to increase financial inclusion to 80 per cent by 2020. She further noted that the Governor had set a new target of 95 per cent financial inclusion by 2024 which was achievable with collaborative efforts.
Mrs. Ahmad further advised that in implementing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy it was important to dimension issues to inform solutions that are appropriate for those to be served.
The meeting featured an update on the key resolution at the seventh meeting of the committee and a road map for 80 per cent inclusion rate by 2020 by the head of the Financial inclusion Secretariat Mr. Attah Joseph A. A.
The road map itemized internal processes and governance necessary to achieve widespread financial inclusion in Nigeria to Women, Rural areas, youth, Northern Nigeria and MSMES. A total of 16.5 million adult Nigerians translating to 8.3 million adults inclusion by end 2019 and 8.2 million adults by end 2020 was projected in the road map.