The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has planned to ensure financial inclusion coverage of the country is at 95 per cent by 2024.
Speaking at the 2022 International Financial Inclusion Conference yesterday the Deputy Governor of the CBN, Aishah Ahmad, said the target is to make more citizens in the rural areas bankable.
Ahmad while admitting that the target is huge and ambitious, it is to demonstrate and communicate its commitment to enhance financial experience for every citizen.
“The CBN has supported the initiative with the launch of eNaira particularly with the expansion to include offline solutions, that means the payment don’t need to be online to make transactions. So, those that live in areas that have poor connectivity can still do financial services.”
She added that areas of target include youth and to bridge gender gap as statistics show 8 per cent of women are less likely to have financial services.
The Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele said from 2012 to date, it has initiated over 59 policies to achieve the objective of financial inclusion.
He said the policies and initiatives “cut across the banking sector, the insurance sector, the capital market, the pension sector and institutions responsible for infrastructural development for financial inclusion.”
He added that the bank would leverage on digital innovations to drive financial inclusion, reasons for the launch of the eNaira.
Emefiele said to ensure the eNaira is enabled for financial inclusion, a USSD channel for eNaira was created.
President Muhammad Buhari said financial inclusion has been in the forefront of providing innovative solutions for addressing some of the pressing issues the country faces.
How to deepen e-Naira transactions – Experts
Also speaking at an earlier event, experts advanced ways to deepen the acceptability of the e-Naira and bring other digital currencies under CBN regulation.
The experts spoke at a pre-conference virtual meeting with the theme: “Building a Cashless System: Understanding the Digital Currency, Lessons from eNaira”.
Founder, Blockchain Centre and CEO of Bitcoin Sam Lee, said the progress of eNaira can be enhanced by stablecoin regulation to create healthy competition to the existing government-backed eNaira system.
“So, if there is strong private-sector competition, that will accelerate the digitization of money. Which is a process that will bring welcome prosperity and accelerate transactions in the ecosystem,” Lee said.
The Director of the Information Technology Department, CBN, Mrs Rakiya Mohammed, said financial exclusion has dropped by 36%, noting that there are 36 million people in the financial sector in Nigeria.
She said, “If we are able to get most of the informal sector into the financial sector, we would be able to measure our GDP based on their contribution.”
President of Future Trends Group, Farzam Kamalabadi, said there is a future possibility of loops of currencies converging with each loop being added to the value, noting that “this is what we plan to build in Africa”.
By Chris Agabi & Faruk Shuaibu