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Can CBN truly achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2020 from current 39%?

Unless the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is going to adopt the yet-to-believe Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) latest data that Nigeria has all of a sudden achieved 30.9 per cent broadband penetration to claim by 2020 that it has achieved 80 per cent financial inclusion, industry analysts say it will be hard to hit 80 per cent inclusion considering current state of poor awareness.
It would be recalled that the National Broadband Plan (NBP) of the government; 2015-2018 targeted 30 per cent broadband plan by end of 2018, but stakeholders were shocked to the marrow when toward the end of the year, the Commission came up with a figure that Nigeria, which had been trailing below 22.5 per cent broadband as at September 2018, suddenly jumped to 30.9 per cent in just one quarter when data on level of investments in the sector within the period under review did not show appreciable flow to support the rise in broadband penetration after all.
Business Hilights recalls that the financial inclusion target of 80 per cent was set by the Federal Government in 2012 and as at last year 2018, it stood at 36.8 per cent as statistics released by Enhancing Financial Innovative and Access (EFIN) indicated that 36.6 million eligible Nigerian adults which are about 36.8 per cent still do not have access to financial services.
Though the CBN Governor, Godwin Ememfiele underscored the need to work hard on the exclusion rate from this year until 2020, he unveiled four policy documents for the financial sector that according to him, will do the magic ahead of 2020.
The policy includes the revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy, the Financial Literacy Framework, the Consumer Protection Framework and the Consumer Education Framework.
Emefiele noted that these policy documents were targeted at facilitating the attainment of the financial inclusion target of 80 per cent by 2020.
Mrs Aisha Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability at CBN who represented Emefiele recalled that “During the course of implementing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy which was launched by the President in October 2012, the need arose for the review of the strategy to meet the challenges and re-assess the developments and the current realities, of the ever-evolving environment in which we operate”.
“With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we now have a revised strategy which we believe, with your support, would aid us as we strive to meet our year 2020 target of reaching 80 per cent financial inclusion level.”
On issues bordering on Consumer Protection Framework in banks, CBN said this was developed to provide policy direction for the enthronement of a robust consumer protection regime in the banking and financial services industry.
Emefiele added that “It was developed for banks and other financial institutions regulated by the CBN, there was extensive consultation with the entire stakeholders of the larger environment”.
“The document, which is the first of its kind, provided policy direction for the banking industry and also served as a guide for other sub-sectors of the financial system.
“For the National Financial Literacy Framework, it would provide a high-level road map for the implementation of various financial literacy programmes for different identified target groups of the Nigerian population.
“For the National Financial Education Strategy, this was developed to operationalise the National Financial Literacy Framework (NFLF).
CBN boss averred that “Unlike the NFLF which provides strategic direction for financial education programmes on a high level, the NFES provided granular activities and actions aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of the NFLF”.
“It is aimed at assisting with detail identification of programmes, players and partners that could implement or facilitate their smooth implementation.
“The document is fashioned around, and takes into account, the various consumer segments identified by the NFLF .”
Aside the new policy template, the CBN will be promoting new initiatives to positively drive financial inclusion statistics in the near term which include the recently introduced regulations and guidelines for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks.