Catching Them Young To Achieve Financial Inclusion

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As the world celebrates the Global Money Week, more emphasis is being placed on increasing financial inclusion and literacy in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria along with players, stakeholders as well as regulators in the financial system have made financial literacy the goal of this year’s celebration.

Particularly, this year’s celebration is being directed at increasing financial education and awareness among the Nigerian youths who are the tomorrow of the nation. As part of activities to mark the 2017 Global Money Week, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)  declared Thursday March 30, 2017 as Financial Literacy Day, on which managing directors and top executives of banks and financial institutions across the nation will visit over 800 schools in 36 states to teach financial literacy.

With a curriculum provided by Junior Achievement Nigeria based on this year’s Global Money Week’s theme, of “Learn. Save. Earn”, over 80,000 students  were impacted through several talks with students across the country.

The CBN initiative managed by the Bankers Committee, in collaboration with Junior Achievement Nigeria matched banks to schools. Union Bank Managing Director and Chairman of the CBN Bankers Committee Financial Literacy and Public Enlightenment Sub – Committee Emeka Emuwa explained that “this is the fourth year we are implementing Financial Literacy Day in partnership with Junior Achievement Nigeria and we have seen the program improve and expand each year.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every Nigerian student understands financial literacy and is able to make sound financial decisions that will lead to a productive and successful life”, he said. Also  Executive Director of Junior Achievement Nigeria, Mrs. Simi Nwogugu explained that the goal of Global Money Week is to teach children and youth about money, saving, creating livelihoods, gaining employment and becoming an entrepreneur through interactive and fun activities. This aligns with the three pillars upon which Junior Achievement’s programs are built: Financial Literacy, Work Readiness, and Entrepreneurship.”

Catching the next generation young by imbibing in them a savings and investment culture as well as entrenching and entrepreneurial spirit in them has been the focus of the apex bank. Last year, it had celebrated the World Savings Day in like manner as Chief Executives of banks went round schools to teach students financial literacy.

Nigeria with a population of over 180 million has just over 67 million active bank accounts as at February 27, 2017 according to data on the website of the Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) the custodial of nigeria’s banking data. This figure is an improvement over 59 million active accounts which the country has as at February last year.

However there is still much to do to achieve the  financial inclusion target set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for 2016. The EFINA 2014 financial inclusion survey conducted reveals that 36.9 million individuals of the Nigerian adult population representing 39.56 are excluded from financial services. This figure is expected to have however improved by the end of the year when the 2016 financial inclusion surgery report is released.

Financial inclusion is achieved when adult Nigerians have easy access to a broad range of formal financial services that meet their needs at an affordable cost.” The services include, but are not limited to, payments, savings, loans, insurance,

On achieving its target, the CBN had embarked on various programmes in conjunction with the banking industry to ensure that more Nigerians are included in the financial industry and reap the benefits which include access to finance.

This includes the implementation of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy that will reduce the percentage of adult Nigerians that are excluded from financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent by 2020 . With this, the number of Nigerians included in the formal sector is expected to increase from 36.3 per cent  in 2010 to 70 per cent y 2020.

This goal is being pursued through a broad range of coordinated interventions, with high priority on transforming the Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations into a simplified riskbased tiered framework that allows individuals who do not currently meet formal identification requirements to enter the banking system.

Development and implementation of a Regulatory Framework for Agent Banking to enable financial institutions to bring banking services to the unbanked in all parts of the country. Development and implementation of a National Financial Literacy Framework to increase awareness and understanding of financial products and services, with the ultimate goal of increasing sustainable usage.

Implementation of a comprehensive Consumer Protection Framework to safeguard the interest of clients and sustain confidence in the financial sector as well as continued pursuance of Mobile Payment System and other Cash-less Policies to reduce the cost and increase the ease of financial services and transactions.

Managing Director of Funds & Electronic Transfer Solutions Limited, Omotade Odunowo while noting that the country still has a long way to go in the areas of awareness and accessibility said the CBN has embarked on initiatives to improve efficiency and build confidence in the process by putting certain measures in place such as financial literacy schemes, and regular updates to the framework for mobile money which have attracted more users.

She noted further that within the banked population, loyalty, engagement and satisfaction is on the rise; however customer demands and expectations evolve so in the financial system as a whole we must continually pay attention to our customers’ needs and try our best to meet them. While in the unbanked population we must continue to create awareness and educate them on financial responsibility and measures we have put in place to protect their monies.

 


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