By Tunde Osho
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set state-by-state target for the 21 commercial banks and 942 Micro finance banks in the country to ensure that every Nigerian adult has access to financial services.
The CBN Branch Controller, Federal Capital Territory, Mrs. Elizabeth Agu, made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the Financial Inclusion State Steering Committee (FISSCO).
She said CBN had broken down the target state-by-state “to ensure that the masses and people at the grassroots have access to financial services such as payments, savings, credit, insurance and pension.”
She added that target for banks was set because the CBN planned to achieve 80 per cent financial inclusion by 2020, yet two years to the deadline, the country had only achieved 41.6 per cent.
She explained that “the cut-cutting and diverse nature of the targeted services require collaborative efforts by stakeholders in the financial sector, especially at the grassroots.
“In particular, financial service providers at the state level are pertinent to achieving at least 80 per cent inclusion of adult population by the year 2020.
“To achieve this, each of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) operating in the FCT have the target to get a minimum of 1,500 new savings customers by 2018, the Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) have the target to open at least 2,500 new accounts.
“The DMBs in the FCT have to also offer credit to at least 600 fresh individuals and for the MFBs, they have the target of ensuring that at least 1,000 customers are offered fresh credit.”
Agu said that the CBN also planned to adopt special strategies for the North East, North West and North Central, where financial exclusion rate was very high.
She noted that “we are also conceptualising on ways and means to reach out to women whose culture and religion require specialised products and channels.
“We remain committed to reaching out to everybody with appropriate financial products, even in the southern part of the country where significant progress is achieved in the last two years.”
Agu said that the newly inaugurated FISSCO, which would be responsible for ensuring that the targets were achieved at the grassroots in the FCT, would be chaired by the CBN Branch Controller for FCT.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mr. Christian Ohaa, pledged to work with the CBN to ensure that the target set for the FCT was achieved.
He said “it is expected that banks operating in the FCT should include 671,000 new savings customers and 266,000 credit customers before the end of 2018.
“This will form the focus of our struggle in the next months. The target for other products such as insurance, pension, capital market products will come later.”
Representatives of the Deposit Money Banks and Micro Finance Banks were present at the meeting.