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Recession puts CBN’s financial inclusion target at risk

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The current economic challenges, which have led to massive job losses in some sectors of the economy, as well as closure of some businesses, are having a negative impact on the financial inclusion target of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This is one of the major outcomes of the third annual symposium of the Nigerian Microfinance Platform with theme, ‘Enhancing savings mobilisation through mobile money, agent banking and digital money’.

The symposium convened by the Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, was attended by stakeholders in the microfinance banking sector of the economy.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access, Mrs. Linda Quaynor, said that findings from the survey conducted by the agency showed that while regulations around financial services innovation had improved opportunities for savings mobilisation, the use of formal savings products and services in Nigeria was just about half of the 2020 target of the apex bank.

For instance, she said while the CBN’s national financial inclusion strategy target for the payment system was put at 70 per cent by 2020, the country had only achieved 38 per cent of that target as of 2016.

In terms of savings, with target of 60 per cent of adult population by 2020, Quaynor said the country was still far behind at 36 per cent.

For credit, insurance and pensions with target rate of 40 per cent by 2020, she said the country had only been able to achieve three per cent, two per cent and five per cent, respectively as of the end of last year.

Quaynor stated, “Over the last 10 years, the CBN has implemented policies and programmes to improve savings mobilisation. From 2015, Nigeria started experiencing economic crisis due to the decline in oil output. This also led to the reduction in the Federal Government’s expenditure.

“Although regulations around financial services innovation have improved opportunities for savings mobilisation, the use of formal savings products/services in Nigeria is still just over 50 per cent of the 2020 National Financial Inclusion Strategy.”

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