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COVID-19 and financial inclusion in Nigeria (1)

…the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly

No one envisioned the world would be at a standstill for 6 weeks, much less experiencing a global pandemic; in an unprecedented manner, COVID-19 decided to show up regardless.

 

The economic disruption of this pandemic will largely come from “aversion posture” taken by people to avoid contracting the virus. These include government-imposed lockdowns, business closures and reduction in activities by people which will inadvertently affect all sectors of the economy and translate into reduced income for suppliers, lower wages, unemployment and a lower standard of living.

 

This article will be addressing the impact of the pandemic on Nigeria’s financial inclusion drive and recommendations to stakeholders- fintech, social enterprises and government on how best to mitigate and innovate in the short and medium-term.

 

The  Not-So-Ugly  (Covid-19  Impact)

 

Remote Work: This is inevitable as many bricks and mortar financial service providers have to swim against this tide that is in uncharted territory. The banks are sequestered and so are the customers; financial service providers are leveraging on every office and a communication tool to keep work going.

 

You can find us in front of our computers with the webcam on having your ‘beloved’ Monday morning meeting with your line a manager trying to explain why you have been unable to land that customer.

 

 

Loans & Lending: There will definitely

be a surge in the requests for loan facilities to meet up to daily and expensive demand of staying at home; I can imagine most lending institutions and apps are inundated with loan requests given the ease of getting credit in less than 5 minutes.

 

Loan default is guaranteed as some workers have been laid off, and those who earn daily wages in non-essential sectors will be unable to meet up with their repayments.

 

Onyeka Akpaida is a financial service professional with 9+ years of experience in financial inclusion, consumer-centric digital banking and public sector engagement.

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