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CBN sets new 80% target for banks on driving financial inclusion

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set a financial inclusion target for Deposit Money Banks and all microfinance banks in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The new drive is expected to hit 80 per cent financial inclusion for the adult population in the country by 2020.

Key step to the target stemmed from the CBN’s inauguration of a financial inclusion state steering committee to boost the implementation of its 80 per cent financial inclusion strategy nationwide.

It would be recalled that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched on October 23, 2012, with the overall target of reducing the percentage of adult Nigerians excluded from access to financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2020.

However, three years to the 2020 target, Nigeria is currently crawling between 40 to 41.6 per cent exclusion rate as revealed by the Access to Financial Services Survey of 2016 conducted by Enhancing Financing Innovation and Access.

Branch Controller, CBN, Abuja, Elizabeth Agu, said the financial inclusion rate of 41.6 per cent was still very low compared to the apex bank’s target of 80 per cent, saying the development underscored the need to work hard on the exclusion rate from this year till 2020.

She said to achieve the target; the CBN had set a target for banks in the FCT to open 1,500 new savings accounts for customers, while MFBs were given the target of 2,500 new accounts.

For credit customers, the CBN had set a target of 600 new customers for the DMBs, while the MFBs were given a target of 1,000 new accounts.

“The CBN strongly believes that the 2020 target is attainable. The strategy documents are presently undergoing review and this will definitely reveal the challenges and what we urgently need to do to put us on track.

“The bank (CBN) is working on initiatives that are targeted at the North-East, North-West and North-Central zones of the country where the exclusion rates are still very high. We intend to hold stakeholders’ workshops in those parts of the country to drill down on strategic measures that will give us quick results.

Continuing, Ms. Agu noted that “We are conceptualising ways and means to reach out to those women whose culture and religion require specialised products and channels, and we remain committed to reaching out to everybody with appropriate financial products.”

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