As the move towards achieving the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN]’s financial inclusion strategy target in 2020 intensifies, experts in the financial ecosystem have identified some sustainable framework that will aid the actualisation of the strategy for business and economic growth.
Speaking at the recently held Financial Inclusion Week the experts said there was a need for stakeholders to leverage technology and embark on financial literacy to promote financial inclusion.
Themed “Financial Inclusion for the Bottom Line” the conference was organised by the Nigeria Financial Inclusion in Lagos.
Financial Inclusion Week Nigeria 2019 is part of the global initiatives to celebrate Financial Inclusion globally.
According to EFInA, Nigeria has 36.8 per cent of its adult population excluded from the financial cycle this translates to a population of 36.6 million people who at the moment is not included in the financial net.
With this, the apex bank is left with an inclusion gap of 16.8 per cent, expected to be bridged at the end of 2019 to enable the CBN to achieve the 20 per cent exclusion rate.
Taiwo Joda, Managing Director of Accion Microfinance Bank, who delivered a keynote on “Addressing barriers to financial inclusion in Nigeria,’’ one of the key issues mitigating the financial inclusion drive in Nigeria is inability to access loan.
Mr Joda said to include the excluded into the financial net, industry players must leverage technology in the deployment of loan facilities for the people.
He said flexible access to a loan is a major yardstick in bridging the exclusion the rate in the country for both the low and high-income earners.
The financial expert equally identified democratisation and adoption of digital marketing and agency banking as an effective way of reaching the unbanked and the underserved towards achieving the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy.
He called for operators to adopt client engagement strategy, which according to him is a step above account opening to drive financial inclusion for full optimization.
“One of the barriers to financial inclusion in Nigeria is the issue of access to loan. Repeated access to a loan is required for financial services to make an impact and drive inclusiveness,’’ he said.
Jerry Osagie, Chief Operating Officer, Zedvance, another industry players advised that there should be a bond between the operators and and their customers by initiating and maintaining a sustainable synergy that will go beyond ‘’Know Your Customer’’.
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He said with this, the operators can have more knowledge about their customers and their locations which will aid the deployment of financial technology.
Osagie asked the regulators to work on a workable framework that will create effective collaboration between them and the operators for the purpose of ensuring quality industry service for financial inclusion growth.
The Director, Financial Inclusion Nigeria, Mr Mayowa Ajetunmobi, said financial inclusion is vital to Nigeria’s economic development.
Joda received the leadership award for 2019 for his role in deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Mr Ajetunmobisaid Joda has been an outstanding operator in the pursuit of the development of the financial sector through his leadership of Accion and the development of Digital Financial Services in Nigeria.