The Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kaduna branch, Ahmed Wali has urged the Kaduna State Goverment to provide relevant infrastructure to support financial inclusion in rural communities in the state.
Wali made the appeal in an interview on Wednesday in Kaduna after a meeting with the state Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe on the progress made in expanding financial inclusion program of the CBN in the state.
He also urged the government to appoint a liaison officer to interface with the CBN in expanding financial services to rural areas.
The Controller said the target of the program, which was started in 2012, was to capture about 80 percent of Nigerians into the financial system by 2020.
” Every state is given a target which requires collaborators and stakeholders to achieve, hence the need to update the state government on every progress made.”
Wali explained the benefit of the program to Nigerians to include easy access to loans for businesses, inculcating saving attitude and improving the livelihood of the people.
“The financial inclusion program reduces poverty, so I hereby call on all Nigerians to open bank accounts in order to access financial services, boost their businesses, well being and economic power.
“The program has recorded high acceptability especially in the Southern part of the country, but there is low acceptance of the program in North East and North West basically due to Islamic belief that prohibits loans with interest.”
He however assured that, there are a few banks that provide products and services without interest rates, saying, even the CBN has a window for the provision of such services.
Wali said the major barriers to success of the financial inclusion program is the lack of accessible banking services in rural areas, difficulty in opening bank accounts and high rate of interest on loans.
On her part, Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe applauded the CBN for initiating the program, saying it has helped people in accessing financial services for the betterment of their lives and the economy.
“Kaduna state government has also encouraged women access bank accounts by issuing N200 million loan to women across the state. More than 70 percent of the women did not have bank accounts prior to the loan disbursement.
“We will disburse N400 million this year and N800 million next year”, she said.
She called on banks to open branches in local government areas to achieve the desired target.(NAN)