Nigeria to reach 95% financial inclusion by 2024 – CBN

Joy Onuorah
Joy Onuorah

The Central Bank of Nigeria has said that it hopes to achieve 95% financial inclusion by 2024.

To achieve this, it said the Federal Government has released five strategic policy studies.

The apex bank disclosed this in its communiqué no. 145 which was issued following the most recent meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja.

It said the policy include Payment System Vision 2025; National Strategy for Leveraging Agent Networks for Women’s Financial Inclusion; Revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

Speaking at the International Financial Inclusion Conference in Abuja on Thursday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said his administration understood the importance of financial inclusion on economic growth and development and had created the necessary policy framework to produce the desired results.

Represented by the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, he said: “For instance, in 2019, I launched the Micro Pension policy which was aimed at deepening pension penetration amongst M.S.M.E.s and the informal economy. We also initiated policies for Micro-Insurance and Collective Investment. These initiatives are geared toward providing access to a wide range of financial products and services to the underserved in line with our National Financial Inclusion objective.”

According to the President, those involved in financial inclusion have been at the forefront of developing creative solutions to some of the most serious problems the nation is currently experiencing.

He pointed out that the Central Bank of Nigeria had released the Payment Service Bank regulatory framework in order to improve the number of access points to financial services in underserved areas of the nation.

The President stated that number of agent banking locations nationwide increased from 86,000 in 2018 to over 1.4 million in 2022 thanks to the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility.

He added that the introduction of the eNaira in October 2021 had given Nigeria the currency it needed for the digital economy in addition to putting it on the map of the world.

“This change did not happen by accident but resulted from the decisive and concerted approach by National Financial Inclusion stakeholders to address key pain points and bottlenecks that were deterring financial inclusion,” he said.

In order to achieve the goal of financial inclusion, he revealed that over 59 policies and initiatives have been implemented by stakeholders as of today. He noted that these initiatives and policies span a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, the capital market, the pension sector, and organizations in charge of developing the necessary infrastructure.

“From 2015 to date, over 4 million small-holder farmers cutting across all states in the country were provided concessionary credit facilities. While this has boosted the economic fortunes of these farmers it also improved national food output, prevented food insecurity and created over 2 million jobs in the process.”

Nigeria is at a turning point in terms of financial inclusion, according to the Deputy Governor of the CBN and chair of the conference’s organizing committee, Aisha Ahmad.

Noting that the nation has advanced in this area, she stated that financial inclusion had increased from 53.7% in 2011 to 64.1% now.

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