Despite the efforts made by relevant government agencies and other stakeholders in the financial sector to entrench financial literacy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has just revealed that a whopping 40.1 million people were still outside the banking system in Nigeria.The statistics from CBN appears as if digital inclusion is not making the desired effect.
While delivering a lecture at the first national media workshop organized by the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN) in Lagos at the weekend, the Deputy Director, Development Finance Office of the CBN, Adedeji Adebisi, said there are approximately 40.1 million financially excluded bankable Nigerians while 56.3million are financially served and included representing above average success of 58.4 percent people in Nigeria.
He said:“The 40.1 million financially excluded Nigerians was a reflection of the global economic meltdown of 2008 to 2009 where many people opted out of the banking system. A 2015 survey by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), showed that about 80 per cent of Nigerians didn’t have formal bank accounts with financial institutions.
In other words, such people were financially excluded. Even among that population, only three per cent use microfinance banks.According to the report, more of this lot were female and among the rural population. They lacked information about banks, primarily because they could not read or write. So, they preferred dealing with cash.
The report said that about 32.5 percent of the adult population or 28.6 million adults in Nigeria had bank accounts. It therefore means that if the current CBN position is taken as a bench mark for improvement since 2015, Nigeria has only cut down on its unbanked population by half in three years.
Whether this could be taken as an achievement or otherwise depends on the activities of these unbanked 40 percent that are yet to be captured, if the EFInA report is anything to go by However, Adedeji said “factors such as insufficient bank branches, lack of confidence in the financial system, financial illiteracy are part of the contributing factors to this effect”, and noted that there is need to educate the public so that Nigeria can have more financially literate and bankable people come 2020.He urged every Nigerian to embrace financial inclusion considering the accountability and responsibility it demands from everyone.
Also corroborating Adedeji, the Minister for information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: “There are many people in Nigeria that are not in the banking system and for you to be part of an organized society, you must be financially included. The minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Information and Liaison Officer for Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Stella Adefusi , added: “Permit me to mention today that financial education is as important as finance itself. The Ministry of Information and Culture will support this initiative of E-PPAN no matter how small to ensure that every man on the street, in the rural or urban area is properly educated on finance.
She also said that financial literacy remains very important in the development of financial inclusion in Nigeria. Acknowledging the efforts of the organizers, he added that efforts of the various payment system operators including CBN, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, NIBSS, E-PPAN among others on the critical impact on the payment sector and the entire status quo would also attract the support of government. He said: “There has been an improvement in the banking system and payment culture of Nigerians.
Banking used to be done only in the banking hall some years ago but currently, banking services can be done and received anywhere at any time. Similarly, access to finance is gradually becoming a norm within the Nigeria economy and it gladdens the heart to see the growth rate by the day. The significant change in the payment culture of citizens is delightful. Indeed, we have, to some extent, bridged the digital divide as a nation.