The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Saturday said that the Bank would continue to support measures that would deepen penetration of financial services in the country.
Emefiele said while delivering a welcome address at the 9th annual Bankers Committee Retreat in Lagos. According to him, the measure will capture those who are financially excluded from the system.
The theme of the retreat is “Improving Financial Access, Enabling Job Creation and Driving Inclusive Growth in Nigeria’’.
He said such measures would also consider Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that were unable to obtain credit facilities from financial institutions.
Emefiele identified some of the measures already taken by CBN to achieve the plan to include Biometric Verification Number (BVN) and Credit Reporting Act 2017 that led to the establishment of the Credit Bureau.
He said that the CBN, in order to drive adoption of financial services, partnered other stakeholders to develop agent-banking guidelines.
According to him, agent banking is designed to encourage participation in the financial sector by individuals unfamiliar with the banking system through the provision of agents in underserved areas.
He said part of the measures was the introduction of the Anchor Borrowers Programme with an investment of over N45 billion which had been effective in improving production, by smallholder farmers of rice, maize and soya beans.
Others were Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme and Collateral Registry.
“In furtherance of these efforts, this Bankers’ Committee retreat is rightfully focusing on strategies to address current constraints in improving access to finance for the unbanked.
“It is also providing actionable steps that will be taken in order to ensure that they make meaningful contributions to Nigeria’s growth and development.
“The retreat will also highlight and discuss key enablers for improving access to credit for MSMEs,” he added.
Earlier, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode said for Nigeria to meet its growth ambitions and achieve full economic potential, concerted efforts must be made to create at least four million jobs annually.
He added that policies that stifled development should be jettisoned.
Ambode said it was time for the Government to review such policies that inhibited growth, and as well come up with a well-functioning low cost financial system that would work for all Nigerians.
He also said that all hands must be on deck to create more jobs for the people and ensure 6.7 per cent annual growth rate.
“To meet our growth ambitions, we need jobs. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that in employment terms, from a labour force population of about 81 million people.
“We currently have 11.5 million people unemployed in Nigeria and 17 million people under-employed while the total employment is around 52.6 million while the working age population grows by 3.7 per cent every year.
“So, to make a meaningful dent on un-employment and underemployment, and to reduce poverty which is at over 60 per cent, we need to be creating at least four million jobs per year.”
He said it was painful that mobile money has been so slow to take off in Nigeria in spite of huge population.
The Governor said it remained very low, increasing from just 0.7 million adults in 2014 to 0.9 million in 2016, in spite of the fact that there were about 58.2 million people who actually had mobile phones in 2016.
Ambode urged CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission, Commercial Banks and stakeholders in the sector to decide the type of financial system that would impact on employment and bring more people into the formal financial system.