How to deepen financial inclusion, by CBN, others

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), 9mobile, Ecobank and Sanef, have offered a road map towards deepening financial inclusion in the country.

They unveiled the roadmap during a virtual Forum Series organised by Ecobank and Vanguard with focus on Mobile Payment Innovation and Closing the Financial Inclusion Gap – post COVID-19.

CBN Director, Payment System, Jimoh Musa, stated that Nigeria has made a commitment to reduce the numbers of those that are excluded from the financial services from 46 per cent to 20per cent in 2020. He said: “We also recognise the fact that the requirement for opening bank accounts was also very stringent, it requires valid documents like passport, or valid driver’s licence; without it you cannot open a bank account.

“One of the things that we found was that it was very difficult for people in the rural communities to have access to financial touch points, to the extent that people in the rural communities would have to travel for 10 to 20 minutes to get to the nearest financial touch points.”

The CEO of 9mobile, Alan Sinfield, said: “9PSB provides an excellent opportunity to further pursue this commitment to serve more people in a manner that improves their quality of life. We are confident that 9PSB will also stimulate savings and investments as more liquidity is mobilised from the informal sector into the mainstream financial system. This will translate into increased economic activities in the informal sector and the overall economy.

“We are willing to partner with financial institutions to reach out to the unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. Telcos in Nigeria have some customer data advantage that Nigeria’s financial institutions can benefit from to deepen their penetration. Even though banking started long before mobile telecommunications, there are more active mobile lines than active bank accounts.”

According to the Managing Director and Regional Executive of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people underscores the unique potentials inherent in the financial inclusion drive. “Essentially, how we move from the narrative of using financial inclusion for poverty alleviation, to moving it to using inclusion to prosper wealth creation and to provide gainful economic engagement with the largest pool of participants in the economy,” he said.