Uche Usim, Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks and other stakeholders in the financial sector met on Thursday to fashion out ways of achieving their 2018 target, which seeks to bring in fresh 7.6 million Nigerians into the formal banking net.
The CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Stability, Dr. Okwu Nnanna, while speaking at the Financial Inclusion State Steering Committee (FISSCO) Regional Capacity Building Programme in Abuja reiterated that all stakeholders in the sector have roles to play in realising the 2018 target.
According to him, the vulnerable segments in the society remain the major thrust for financial inclusion since they constitute a large proportion of the excluded population.
He said: “For instance, in Nigeria, the proportion of females without access to formal financial services was 46.3 per cent in 2016 compared to 36.8 per cent of men. In addition, a world disability study on people living with disability showed that 25 million Nigerians were living with one form of disability or the other and this acts as a hindrance to accessing basic financial products and services.
“In addition to women and people with disabilities, vulnerable segments can further include youths, rural communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and they all should form part of our focus,’’ he explained.
Nnanna recommended that to improve access to financial services, affordable savings, credit payment, insurance and pension products should be designed and targeted at the vulnerable groups in the society.
He also urged commercial banks and microfinance banks to increase sensitisation to rural areas on the use of Point of Sale (PoS), Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and cashless mobile money services.
In his remarks at the event, the CBN Head, Digital Financial Services, Mr. Stephen Ambore, said getting the unbanked people to have access to financial services would contribute to economic development.
Ambore, while giving a region by region breakdown on financial exclusion rate in the country, said that the North-West was the most financially excluded zone with an exclusion rate of 70 per cent.