Wednesday, December 12, 2018 5.00PM
/ Bukola Akinyele, Proshare WebTV
As Nigeria seeks to drive its financial inclusion with the target of achieving the 80% mark by 2020, the recent 2018 EFINA Nigeria “Access to Financial Services Survey” revealed a lot has to be done across the country.
From the analysis the financially excluded in the country are 36.8% while the banked adult population constitute 39.7% of the population.
Those in the Formal other segment constitute 9.0% of the population, while the informal only sector captured were 14.6% of the population.
This survey shows that Nigeria has a great task ahead in driving financial inclusion, which plays a key role in achieving inclusive economic growth.
While the full report of the survey is expected to be distributed to relevant bodies and organizations, we identify six next steps that must be taken on financial inclusion.
Conscious efforts must be made to scale financial inclusion in the country, through financial literacy.
Priority must be given to the North-West and North-East regions, that retained the spots with the highest number of financially excluded people in Nigeria.
Campaigns must be carried out in local languages across the country, with intensive enlightenment programmes in the rural areas.
This will require effective collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Education, State Governments, Local Governments, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism, and the National Orientation Agency.
774 Financial Inclusion Champions
The Central Bank of Nigeria through its National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2020 should consider making provisions for the inauguration of “Financial Inclusion Champions” who will take the responsibility of scaling financial inclusion in all the 774 local government areas of the federation.
Proactive Policy Initiatives
To achieve a broader perspective in boosting financial inclusion in the country, regulators and policy makers should come up with dynamic initiatives, that can achieve mass scale participation in the financial services industry.
The Central Bank of Nigeria through its “Payment Service Bank” guidelines is setting an example of creating an open banking model that accommodates players from the Telco, FMCG and the Nigerian Postal Services to increase financial services especially in the rural areas.
Strengthening SANEF and Other Agent Networks
The Shared Agent Network Facility driven by the CBN, Deposit Money Banks, and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlements system is a laudable initiative that seeks to establish 250,000 financial access points by 2020.
It is intended to serve 40 million low income earners in the country.
All stakeholders must show commitment to driving the process, which will go a long way in addressing the issues that have hindered Nigeria’s progress in financial inclusion.
Enabling Environment for Fintechs
The Fintech companies will be critical here in providing products and services that can reach out to millions of the unbanked population in Nigeria.
An enabling regulatory environment from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria will lead Fintechs to provide innovative services.
Partnering with the Media
The media is a veritable tool in driving mass mobilization across the country. In achieving the financial inclusion agenda,the financial media should be engaged by all stakeholders (EFINA, CBN, SEC) to drive publicity and awareness in the country.