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SEC leads other agencies to drive financial inclusion at grassroots ahead 2020 target

…But experts want commercial banks, telecoms to do more

As part of drive to beat the 2020 target of achieving 80 per cent financial inclusion for the citizens, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in partnership with Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Insurance Commission and National Pension Commission, have deepened awareness campaign in rural populace.

However, financial analysts argue that major part of the drive to deepen financial inclusion must be done by financial institutions in churning out attractive and easy to run services so that rural poor can be captured.

According to them, banks are technically discouraging financial inclusion with high lending interest rate, scarcity of branches in rural areas and weak broadband penetration which would have deepened uptake of digital financial services by rural dwellers that cannot access physical banking structures.

Addressing rural dwellers in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the Acting-Director General of SEC, Miss Mary Uduk, represented by the Head of Market Development of SEC, Mr. Francis Uzoma Okafor disclosed that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) was launched on October 23, 2012.

She averred that the overall target was to reduce the percentage of adult Nigerians excluded from access to financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2020.

Uduk said the regulatory agencies were concerned with the weak level of financial inclusion in the country and we’re meeting quarterly on how to reverse the trend.

According to her, several individuals and households still lacked adequate access to a full range of affordable and convenient formal financial services, especially those in the rural areas into the financial circle due issues of language barrier and lack of accounts in commercial banks.

SEC boss noted further that the barriers have robbed many people the access to any investment platform and ultimately stunting the growth potential of the economy.

Continuing, SEC observed that “The purpose of this financial inclusion program is to get 80 per cent of Nigerians financially included by 2020.

“We are coming down to the grassroots because they are those that are excluded from the formal financial system and every effort is being made to bring them to the financial system.

“We have taken this programme to all the states and we have seen many people who don’t have even bank account and we are educating them on why they should have it.

Some of the rural residents who attended the session, called for more presence of banking facilities in rural areas or deployment of broadband to drive mobile money transactions.

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