That only 40% of adults in Nigeria is included in the financial system is a threat to the target of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to have 80% inclusion within the next two years.
The umbrella body of Nigerian banks’ managing directors and top officials of CBN — the Bankers Committee — has confirmed its readiness to add over 40 million banks accounts into the banking system in three years.
According to Independent, the target would be achieved through the Shared Agent Network Expansion Program (SANEP) which was launched earlier in the year by the joint effort of commercial banks, licensed mobile money operators, super agents and the CBN, to further deepen financial inclusion.
The initiative is expected to have a network of 500,000 agents whose main function would be to provide basic financial services, especially to the unserved.
The ratio at which the agent network is expected to be shared favoured the Northern geopolitical zones, on the ground that financial exclusion is most predominant in that region. The ratio for the agent network is North-East 30%; North-West 30%; North-Central 20%; South-South 7.5%; South-East 7.5%; and South-West 5%.
Worthy of note is that CBN has been making efforts to bring people into the financial system.
One of the apex bank’s recent moves was signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the telecommunications industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in order to allow telecom companies (telcos) play in the payment system.
But two months after the MoU, the Nigerian payment industry is yet to welcome any initiative from the telcos.