Nigeria:CBN Targets 80% Access to Financial Services by 2020

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it has begun a campaign to ensure that at least 80 per cent of Nigerians have access to financial services by 2020.

It said the campaign was aimed at reducing the number of Nigerian adults excluded from financial services from 46.3 per cent where it was in 2010 to 20 per cent by the year 2020.

The Branch Controller of CBN in Port Harcourt, Mr. Jude Ndubisi Ekwebelem, disclosed this in an address he presented at the national financial inclusion workshop organised by the bank and other stakeholders in the banking sector in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Ekwebelem said, “The ultimate goal of the financial inclusion strategy (FIS) is to reduce the percentage of adult Nigerians that are excluded from financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20% in 2020.”

He expressed the hope that the workshop would arm participants with adequate information on how to access financial services so that they would be good ambassadors of financial inclusion for the various organisations they represent.

The branch controller, represented by the acting controller, Mr. Emmanuel Etok, stated that recently, the CBN launched the N220 billion development funds for micro, small and medium enterprises in the country, pointing out that 60 per cent of the fund would be channelled to women entrepreneurs.  In her presentation, the head, National Financial Inclusion secretariat in CBN, Mrs. Temitope Akinfadeyi, said financial inclusion would only be achieved when all Nigerian adults have easy access to financial services no matter where they are in the country.
Fielding questions from journalists after her presentation, Akinfadeyi said the team had paid courtesy visits to government agencies in the state.

She explained, “Financial inclusion is a national strategy. It is something we are doing not just as CBN but it is for the whole of Nigeria. It is about improving the lives of our people. It is actually about empowering people through access to finance because when people have access to finance, they can take decisions to improve their lives. In the first stage we are focusing on five services; payments, savings, loans, insurance and pension. We believe that all Nigerians should have access to these services.”

She said the CBN was seeking collaboration of other stakeholders in the sector, as the CBN was more concerned with setting the policy direction. She said while the campaign started from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, it would ultimately get to the local government levels.