Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has chosen the first quarter of this year as the commencement for the account opening week, saying it will be conducted on a quarterly basis in 2020.
Account Opening Week is positioned to support improved access to financial products and services. This is also part of the initiatives deployed going forward in order to achieve the 80% financial inclusion target set for 2020.
The Steering Committee, which meets biannually to provide policy direction for financial inclusion in Nigeria, approved the implementation of the account opening week, saying it should be titled ‘Financial Inclusion Week’ to make it all-encompassing.
Also, the committee approved that the National Peer Group Education Programme (NAPGEP) Strategy be implemented with effect from the first quarter of 2020.
The financial inclusion newsletter released by the CBN on Wednesday showed that the 9th meeting of the National Financial Inclusion Steering Committee held on December 6, 2019, and was chaired by Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria.
An update on the progress of the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) was presented to the committee, which revealed that the number of agents increased by 127% from 83,560 in December 2018 to 189,767 as at October 31, 2019.
Banks and Super Agents have deployed agents in all 774 LGAs. Super Agents alone have agents in 773 of the 774 (i.e. 99.9% penetration rate), 34 LGAs (4.4%) have above 1,000 agents each. 129 LGAs (16.7%) however have at least 100 agents per 100,000 population.
After the deliberations, the following decisions were reached; Framework for Access to Finance for women: A framework is being developed to provide guidance to stakeholders involved in the improvement of access to finance for women in Nigeria.
In addition to the above, a critical discussion on the use of airtime for insurance premium held during the meeting. Case studies on climes where micro-insurance premiums are being paid using airtime deductions were presented to the committee for deliberation.