The Federal Government has unveiled five key policy frameworks and initiatives to help meet its target of achieving 95 percent financial inclusion rate by 2024.
The policies such as Revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy, National Strategy for Leveraging Agent Networks for Women’s Financial Inclusion, National Fintech Strategy, Nigeria Financial Services Maps, and Payment System Vision 2025 were unveiled at the 2022 international financial inclusion conference held last week at Abuja.
From 2012 to date, over 59 policies and initiatives have been implemented by stakeholders to achieve the objective of financial inclusion; these 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, said Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN.
“These five important financial inclusion artefacts will provide direction for financial inclusion in the country in the coming years,” he said.
Financial inclusion is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to disadvantaged and low-income segments of society. According to Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), Nigeria’s financial inclusion rate grew to 64.1 percent in 2020 from 32.5 percent in 2012.
The 2020 figure is below the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s 80 percent financial inclusion target for 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Muhammad Bello, minister of the Federal Capital Territory, said the government is committed to providing continuous support to all financial inclusion stakeholder institutions in the public and private sectors.
“We believe achieving financial inclusion goals would further boost the economic fortunes of Nigeria.”
He highlighted some of the programmes, which include the microfinance policy, policy for microinsurance and collective investment, and national strategy for digital economy.
“Financial service stakeholders have leveraged on that to provide financial services to our people, these innovations have also facilitated access to credit to rural dwellers and enable them to conduct their businesses without the need to travel far in search of the nearest bank branch,” Bello said.
Here are more details about the strategies
National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS 3.0)
This strategy is an updated version of NFIS 2.0 which was launched in 2019. It aims to increase adoption and usage of financial services in priority demographics, ensure robust enabling financial services infrastructure, expand digital financial services and platforms and improve financial inclusion coordination, capacity, and governance.
National Strategy for Leveraging Agent Networks for Women’s Financial Inclusion
This is an offshoot of the framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion, according to the CBN.
“The strategy is a fulfilment of the strategic imperative three under the framework which advocates for the expansion of delivery channels to reach women customers closer to home to close the financial inclusion gender gap in Nigeria,” it said.
The apex bank added the strategy seeks to ‘at least’ double the number of female financial services agents between 2022 and 2024 and increase the ratio of female to male financial services agents from 15:85 to 35:65 by 2024.
It will also promote the innovation and deployment of at least 10 gender-centric financial products or interventions that actively leverage agent networks.
Payment System Vision (PSV) 2025
This vision builds on the legacy and achievement of the PSV 2020 which provided a roadmap for the reform of the Nigerian payments system.
“The revised document will focus the attention of critical stakeholders on contemporary developments that will drive digital innovations and payment in the future, such as contactless payments, big data, open banking, among others,” the bank said.
National FinTech Strategy
The national fintech strategy provides demand and supply side recommendations to drive the uptake and usage of Fintechs in Nigeria.
It outlines two strategic objectives: ecosystem and governance, as well as three priorities namely; deploy principle-based rules, regulations, and infrastructure foundational to building a thriving fintech ecosystem.
Build a fintech ecosystem that supports acceleration, engagement, and collaboration and create a multi-disciplinary talent pool and employability opportunities across the fintech ecosystem.