The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed worry about the drop in the country’s financial inclusion growth rate. It claimed that several bank accounts had become dormant owing to lack of disposable income.
CBN’s Deputy Director, Banking and Payment System, Musa Itopa Jimoh, who spoke in Lagos yesterday as a panelist at the Interswitch-organised connect conference, said the challenge cuts across the whole country, “but has become more prevalent in North-East and North West regions of the country.”
Jimoh stated that the major issue fueling the drop in financial inclusion growth rate had been the poor economic situation in the country, stressing that because people are no more earning income as they used to, “so many people are now unable to keep funding their accounts and this has resulted in them (accounts) becoming dormant. Several accounts have become dormant in the country.”
He also blamed the drop in North-East and North-West to the poor security situation in those regions, saying: “Many of the financial institutions have closed down offices because of fear of insurgency. People are equally not going to bank for safety reasons. So, all these and many others impacted on the growth of financial inclusion in Nigeria.”
According to him, the CBN had targeted reduction in financial inclusion by 20 per cent in 2020, “however, if by 2017 we have not even reached 25 per cent, the possibility of meeting the set target in three years’ time look very dicey. This is the reason we are calling for a collaborative efforts to drive financial growth in the country.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Interswitch, Mitchel Elegbe, who stated that Nigeria must come out and innovate if it must measure up, said the huge population in the country may not give room for proper provisions, “reason it has become important for us to innovate as a nation.”
Also, Dr. Omolara Akanji, Director, Sterling Bank and former Director, Trade and Exchange, CBN, urged focus on digitisation, stressing that it has huge economic impact.
She said that digitisation creates jobs and that studies have shown that a 10 per cent increase in the digitisation process leads to 1.02 per cent drop in unemployment rate.