New naira: 50% unbanked Nigerians may lose savings, says report

Alade Abayomi ADeleke
Alade Abayomi ADeleke

Oluwanifemi Ojo


A new report by the Inclusion for all Initiative predicts that over 50 percent of Nigerians without access to banking services could lose their savings as the deadline for the naira exchange announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria approaches.


The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, announced the introduction of the new Naira note on October 26, 2022. The circulation took effect from December 15, 2022, and the existing note would seize to be regarded as a legal tender by January 31, 2023.


The report by the advocacy initiative tasked with the responsibility to uphold financial and economic inclusion for vulnerable and impoverished Nigerian  communities comes seven days to the deadline issued by the CBN.


Based on the research by this organisation, it was noted that of these unbanked Nigerians which are 38% million, 20.1% do not possess any valid identification document. The findings also estimated that the possession of National Identity Number among the below poverty line population is just 45%.


The Head, Inclusion for all Initiative, Chinasa Collins-Ogbuo, gave his statement on the research and said, “54.2% of Nigeria’s unbanked poor indicated their preference for saving their money in a safe place at home or carrying it around, indicating that more than 50% of this segment of the population could lose their savings if they are unable to exchange old notes for new notes.


“The requirement by the CBN for individuals to have full KYC and deposit their old notes in a bank account could adversely impact the un(der)banked segment of Nigeria’s population who are unlikely to own a bank account or have the requisite documentation for KYC.


“The ability of financially excluded Nigerians to meet the KYC requirements in the timeframe provided and given the barriers to identity ownership will be constrained, and so even if they seek to use the opportunity to enter the formal system, they are likely to face challenges.”


The Associate Dean, Lagos Business School, spoke on the Inclusion for All podcast on the Naira Redesign. In his words,  “From the supply side, we need to ask, ‘Is this a push or pull initiative?.’ I’ll compare the naira redesign to the NIN registration, which was a push directive. All that is required is linking the NIN to a SIM and BVN to facilitate bank transactions”.

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