The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday issued a new target for Deposit Money Banks and all microfinance banks in the Federal Capital Territory towards achieving the 80 per cent financial inclusion target for the adult population in the country by 2020.
The apex bank also inaugurated a financial inclusion state steering committee to boost the implementation of its 80 per cent financial inclusion strategy.
The National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched on October 23, 2012, and the overall target was to reduce the percentage of adult Nigerians excluded from access to financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2020.
But three years to the 2020 target, Nigeria is currently battling 41.6 per cent exclusion rate as revealed by the Access to Financial Services Survey of 2016 conducted by Enhancing Financing Innovation and Access.
The Branch Controller, CBN, Abuja, Elizabeth Agu, said the financial inclusion rate of 41.6 per cent was still very low compared to the apex bank’s target of 80 per cent.
This, she added, underscored the need to work hard on the exclusion rate from this year till 2020.
Agu noted that to achieve the target, the CBN had set a target for banks in the FCT to open 1,500 new savings accounts for customers, while MFBs were given the target of 2,500 new accounts.
For credit customers, she stated that the CBN had set a target of 600 new customers for the DMBs, while the MFBs were given a target of 1,000 new accounts.
Agu said, “The CBN strongly believes that the 2020 target is attainable. The strategy documents are presently undergoing review and this will definitely reveal the challenges and what we urgently need to do to put us on track.
“The bank (CBN) is working on initiatives that are targeted at the North-East, North-West and North-Central zones of the country where the exclusion rates are still very high. We intend to hold stakeholders’ workshops in those parts of the country to drill down on strategic measures that will give us quick results.
“We are conceptualising ways and means to reach out to those women whose culture and religion require specialised products and channels, and we remain committed to reaching out to everybody with appropriate financial products.”
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mr. Christian Ohaa, said the financial inclusion strategy was vital as its success would take Nigeria to the next level.
He stated that the task of enhancing access to financial services for the poor should not be left to the CBN alone, adding that the FCTA would ask its area councils, which, according to him, are closer to the people to drive financial inclusion in the country.
Ohaa said the FCTA had taken the initiative as a call to service and would ensure that the less privileged in the grass roots had access to financial services.