Story by Kayode Tokede
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that financially excluded population in the country dropped by 4.8 per cent from 41.6 per cent in 2016 to 36.8 per cent in 2018.
The apex bank in its latest National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) report noted that female exclusion rate dropped by 5.7 per cent from 46.6 per cent in 2016 to 40.9 per cent in 2018), while male exclusion rate dropped by 4.3 per cent from 36.8 per cent in 2016 versus 32.5 per cent in 2018.
The report noted that as at 2012 when Nigeria launched her NFIS, indicators of payments, savings, credit, insurance and pension products showed that Nigeria lags behind her peers in Africa and globally.
According to the report, “It was, therefore, imperative, that the NFIS 1.0 would seek ways to scale up access to nance across the various product segments highlighted above.
”To achieve this, the various actors in the nancial inclusion (FI) space were mandated to seek ways to reduce the following barriers to access nancial services, high cost of obtaining nancial services, distance of Financial access points, low level of nancial literacy and education, among others.”
The governor, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said the nancial exclusion rate of adults has progressively improved from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 41.6 per cent in 2016 and 36.8 per cent in 2018 as against the NFIS target of 20 per cent by 2020.
He noted that the improved macroeconomic environment such as stable exchange rate, monetary and nancial stability in the recent times has fostered a conducive environment for nancial inclusion to thrive, particularly in the underserved segments of the country.
According to him, in order to meet the NFIS target of 20 per cent nancial exclusion for adults by 2020, the strategy has been refocused to explore ve priority themes of Youth, Women, Rural areas, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the Northern region.
He said, “These priority areas are expected to close identied gaps and tremendously advance nancial inclusion.
”Emphasis will also be placed on the use of technological tools in improving access to nance among the underserved. Consequently, a stakeholder-driven implementation approach would give impetus to the achievement of the targeted outcomes.
”I am optimistic that the fundamental building blocks for incremental growth have already been laid.”
However, the report stated that available data indicates that total assets of the banking sector increased by 10.1 per cent to reach N38.7 trillion as at end-December 2018 from N35.2 trillion in 2017.
Total deposit liabilities also grew by 13.7 per cent from N19.4 trillion as at end-December 2017 to N22 trillion by end December 2018.
“On the other hand, loans and advances decreased by 4.3 per cent from N14.3 trillion as at end-December 2017 to N14.1 trillion as at end-December 2018.
”Credit from the CBN increased by 9.4 per cent from N1.004 trillion by end-December 2017 to N1.099 trillion as at end-December 2018, while net foreign assets decreased marginally from N386.1 billion to N216.4 billion over same period,” the report explained.