Financial inclusion in Nigeria has missed its target. This has been confirmed in a report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFinA) titled ‘Assessment of women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria’ for December 2019. According to the report, Nigeria’s financial exclusion stands at 36% for women and 24% for men. The report adds that, ‘The relative gender gap related to financial inclusion is 20-30%, placing Nigeria below its peers.’
It further states that, ‘Since 2012, although women’s exclusion has dropped, the gender gap has grown, revealing that men’s inclusion has improved more rapidly than women’s.’ The CBN launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2012 to reduce financial exclusion to 20% of the adult population. This has not been achieved.
It has been an uphill task for years. The main reason has been linked to literacy rates and information. Literacy on the part of the people and information or lack of it on the part of the financial institutions tasked with informing people about the services they offer. And the recently, unforeseen socioeconomic factors such as recession (in 2016 and is hovering around the nation again due to the economic impact of COVID-19), the precarious security situation in parts of northern Nigeria, and other factors such as slow uptake of digital financial services.
What is financial inclusion?
Financial Inclusion according to the Central Bank of Nigeria is a state where financial services are delivered by a range of providers, mostly the private sector, to reach everyone who could use them. Specifically, it means a financial system that serves as many people as possible in a country.
EfinA has already proved that many Nigerians do not have bank accounts or access to formal financial services. EFinA stated in its 2012 survey of Nigeria that 34.9 million adults representing 39.7% of the adult population were financially excluded. Only 28.6 million adults were banked, representing 32.5% of the adult population.
High levels of financial exclusion pose two major threats to economies:
Losing opportunities for business growth. In the absence of finance, people who are not connected with the formal financial system lack opportunities to maximise their income and expand their businesses.
The country’s economic growth could be stifled. Vast unutilized resources, in the form of money in the hands of people who are in the informal sector could limit a country’s economic growth potential.
What is Nigeria losing? Billions of Naira notes have and still are being circulated through the informal sector and this harms the country’s economic growth and development. The unbanked sector could considerably increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
The EFInA survey in Nigeria 2012 revealed that 23.0 million adults save money at home. The report explained that, if 50.0% of people saved N1,000 every month with a bank, then up to N138 billion could be incorporated into the formal financial sector every year.
The opportunity for the private sector.
Providing financial products and services to the low-income population represents a large business opportunity for the private sector. Providers of financial products and services should develop innovative products and services that better suit the needs of the low-income unbanked and under-banked population.
Accessibility to more fintech services was heightened by the economic squeeze, inactivity, the lockdown imposed to curb the pandemic itself. Also, the CBN granting more licenses to Telco’s could insure the previously unbanked become truly financially inclusive.
Nigeria Records Highest Power Transmission Of 5,459.50MW
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says the power sector has recorded an all-time national peak of 5,459.50MW.
A statement issued on Thursday by Ms Ndidi Mbah, TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, said the new record was achieved on Oct. 28.
The statement said the power generated was efficiently transmitted through the nation’s transmission grid at a frequency of 50.26Hz by 8.15pm on the said date.
According to the statement, this milestone in transmission is higher than any peak ever recorded in the nation’s power industry as of date.
It said the new peak surpassed the 5,420.30MW achieved on Aug.18 by 39.20MW.
Reacting to the development, Mr Sule Abdulaziz, acting Managing Director, TCN, commended all the players in the power sector value chain for the feat.
Abdulaziz attributed the gradual but steady improvement in the quantum of power delivery to collaboration by the sector players.
He added that the unbridled effort by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Power, in setting the right environment for seamless operations contributed to the feat.
Abdulaziz expressed optimism that stakeholders in the sector would continue to work together toward ensuring the continued increase in the quantum of power available to consumers nationwide.
He noted that the TCN was committed to working with the generation and distribution companies to ensure sustained improvement in the sector for the benefit of the nation.
Sterling Bank Launches Free Money Transfer Service For Nigerians In Diaspora
Sterling Bank Plc has launched ‘Switch’ – “a free money transfer service” -for Nigerians in diaspora.
Switch, the bank says, will help to promote financial inclusion, international banking and allied services for diaspora Nigerians.
Mr Shina Atilola, Sterling Bank’s Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, in a statement on Wednesday, said that Switch is a zero per cent transaction charge offer, which further demonstrates the bank’s commitment to making cross-country banking accessible to all Nigerians abroad.
According to Atilola: “Switch users will be able to fund their account for free when using their Naira Debit Card and they will enjoy free service charge when they fund their Switch account using foreign bank cards for six months at the first instance.
“Switch enables the processing of everyday banking and financial services such as the payment of bills, funds transfer, payment requests, investments, asset financing and insurance services, among others, in their preferred currencies.
“Over the years, Nigerians in the diaspora have often had difficulties funding their Nigerian bank accounts using international bank cards due to high charges, and inability to perform seamless online transactions without recourse to the bank or its agents for money exchange, among others.
“Switch will benefit the customers’ desire for a convenient banking that gives more value, adding that some of the benefits include currency swap, access to asset financing diversified investment offerings and protection from mishaps with various insurance packages.
“Switch provides customers with the added value of asset financing, investment and insurance opportunities at better rates,” he said.
Atilola explained that the new product is a mobile app and is available on Android and IOS stores.
Switch, a multi-service platform, has been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and funds domiciled in the Bank via the App are insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).
He noted that though Switch is designed for Nigerians in the diaspora, and can be operated from any part of the world, it is, however, only accessible to users in the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and Canada at the moment.
“The plan is to expand to other countries of the world where Nigerians reside,” he added.
Nigeria’s Central Bank Issues Guidelines For N75Bln Youth Investment Fund
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for implementation of the proposed N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).
CBN, in a statement by its Development Finance Department, stated that the fund was a built-in strategy to effectively respond to the challenge of youth employment in Nigeria.
The Fund, an initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, is to be managed by NISRAL Microfinance Bank.
It stated that the major objective of the plan was to address fragmentation of youths initiatives that prevent assessment of impact.
`The Federal Executive Council on July 22, approved N75 billion for the establishment of the NYIF from 2020 to 2023.
“It will provide Nigeria youths with investment inputs required to build successful businesses that can become sustainable employers of labour and contributors to the country’s development.
“ The plan targets young people between 18 and 35 years and details the needed actions required to support business establishment, expansion and consequent employment creation for youths in critical economic and social sectors,” it stated.
The apex bank said that the fund was dedicated to investing in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian youths.
It added that it would institutionally provide the youths with special window for accessing the funds, finances, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development.
“The ministry is the lead implementation entity and is responsible for budgetary provisions and for funds mobilisation.
“The fund aims to financially empower youths to generate at least 500,000 jobs between 2020 and 2023,’’the apex bank said.
It added that part of the objectives of the fund was to improve access to finance for youths and youth-owned enterprises for national development.
“It will also generate much-needed employment opportunities to curb youths restiveness, boost their managerial capacity and develop their potential to become the future large corporate organisations,’’ it added.
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