Five Key Takeaways from the Recent CBN National Financial Literacy Conference

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Saturday, January 19, 2019    3:30 PM /By Teslim Shitta-Bey  


Worried by the slow pace with which Nigerians have adopted financial services in rural areas and amongst micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with a variety of financial industry stake holders  came out with a number of policy positions at a recent stakeholders Conference held in Abuja between January 17 and 18 2019.


Highlights

  • There is a need for increased consumer financial literacy to improve the literacy penetration ratio which is still embarrassingly low. A 80% penetration by 2021 is targeted. 
  • Nigerian youths need to be more actively engaged in financial literacy to create a more active financial industry participation rate for a demography group between 16 and 35 years of age. This represents over 60% of Nigeria’s population of an estimated 198million people 
  • Women need to be especially targeted since research evidence show that they are more reliable borrowers of funds at the MSME levels 
  • The different segments of the financial ecosystem; banks, insurance companies, pension fund managers and stockbrokers need to be more intimately related to provide consumers with a more robust understanding of products and services rendered by each market segment and how they are linked or complementary.
  • A process of monitoring and evaluation has been designed to ensure that processes or procedure agreed are actually followed

Five key takeaways from the conference included but were not limited to the following:

1.   With Financial Technology (Fintech) becoming an increasingly important part of the business ecosystem , there must be deeper collaboration amongst the various regulatory authorities and private market participants such as deposit money  banks (DMBs), telcos, retail stores and payment system banks (or agency banks). The regulators must ensure a seamless set of rules and responsibilities that cover issues related to the services rendered by each retail and wholesale market participant. 

2.   Consumer education needs to be broadened and deepened. Multilevel platforms need to be adopted for the education of a wide range of consumers of financial services: 

·         Market men and women

·         Students-primary, secondary and tertiary

·         Artisans

·         Crop Farmers

·         Animal Husbandry Farmers

·         Sellers of small unit items at the margins of urban economies 

3.   Consumer dispute processes must be fashioned in manners that guarantee quick, easy and inexpensive resolution of differences between service vendors and customers. This may also require speedy resolution of differences between regulatory agents, meaning there must be clarity over role and responsibilities in cases of dispute. 

4.   The target of national exclusion must be reduced from 46.3% in 2010 to 20% in 2020. The current exclusion rate in 2018 was about 36.8% according to a recent report by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EfinA).

 

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Source: EfinA

Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.

Source: EfinA

5. To reach the financially excluded, market infrastructure needs to be enhanced. Poor communication, especially in respect of telco services in rural communities need to be urgently addressed. Many payment bank agents suffer frustration because of weak network connection and slow data processing time. 

 

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