Findings of the review of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) have revealed that elements of the strategy such as point of sale (PoS) terminals are no longer the appropriate or most efficient channel for the distribution of financial services.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the revised NFIS (PDF) attributes the claim to the advances in technology.
The apex bank had conducted a 9-month review of the strategy which looked into past approaches as well as lessons learnt so far while also consulting concerned stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and national and international development partners.
The review of the strategy revealed that the nation has made significant progress to implement the NFIS as stakeholders regarded financial inclusion as a tool for national development.
Another revelation from the review is that regulations and policies like fixed fees for certain transactions are limiting the range and variation of business models that can be deployed.
This in a way has a correlation with one of the 2019 predictions for the payment space by Open Banking Nigeria Trustee, Adedeji Olowe.
Olowe had in December 2018 predicted that CBN will instruct banks to reduce transfer chargers while also making transfer of ₦1,000 and below charge-free.
The review also pointed out that culture and religious factors are slowing down financial inclusion drive in the northern parts of the country.
Apparently, innovative models that have proven to increase access to financial services in other countries are yet to take significant root in Nigeria due to restrictive policies and regulations.
And lack of understanding of the workings of agent banking, as well as the opportunities for stakeholders, is affecting the pace of its adoption.