By Chika Otuchikere
The country’s financial Inclusion plan has failed to meet its expected target, falling to 58.4 percent in 2016, according to a report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
The CBN report disclosed the Fnancial Inclusion plan which rose from 53.7 per cent in 2010 to 60.3 per cent in 2012 and 60.5 per cent in 2014 but came down in 2016.
“Overall, Nigeria has failed to meet its financial inclusion targets due to a variety of factors; a step-change in the pace of progress is needed to close the sizeable gap between the current status and the targets,” the apex bank said.
The report said that in 2010, Nigeria made a pledge to reduce the adult financial exclusion rate in the country from 46.3 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020, and the National Financial Inclusion Strategy was inaugurated on October 23, 2012 in order to attain the target.
In a circular dated July 6, 2018, the Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Dr Mudashiru Olaitan, said, “While some notable milestones have been achieved, overall financial exclusion rate stands at 41.6 per cent based on the biennial Access to Financial Services in Nigeria Survey.”
Olaitan affirmed that the CBN had been in conjunction with various stakeholders to review the strategy to appraise progress, identify gaps and develop a reinvigorated strategy document that would serve as a road map for implementation till 2020.
The bank stated in a document it called ‘National Financial Inclusion Strategy Refresh’, “At present, Nigeria lags behind inclusion targets across every measure and is not on track to meet the targets by 2020. However, some recent developments launched since completion of the strategy review may help drive inclusion over the next two years,”
According to the report, in 2016, 58.4 per cent of the nation’s 96.4 million adults were financially served – compared to a target of 69.5 per cent – leaving 41.6 per cent (about 40.9 million adults) financially excluded. It also showed that only 36.9 million adults were banked while over 59 million were unbanked.
“Performance did not meet expectations across all inclusion targets for products, channels and enablers. Among product categories, credit, insurance and pension fell short of targets by the most significant margins. Point of Sale terminals and Automated Teller Machines showed the least progress among channels,” the CBN stated.