Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has urged deposit money banks to allow other critical stakeholders to partake in financial services, in a bid to enhance financial inclusion and develop the local economy.
The call was made by the Vice President during the on-going 2021 Banking and Finance Conference organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), themed ‘’Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance.’’
Speaking at the conference, the number two citizen harped on the need to leverage mobile technology and enhance greater participation of payment agents, as solutions to scale up the financial inclusion drive. He decried the low presence of banking agents in rural areas, noting that only 39% of the current banking agents are in the rural areas in the country.
He said, “I have had a few tension-filled meetings between the banking sectors and the telecommunication companies. I suspect that the bankers think that the telecos are about to take their lunch, so they are generally a bit sceptical about the way that the telecos come into the financial sector.
“But inclusion demands their coming up with products that are diverse and heterogeneous, and the truth is that, this banking and financial space must be open to others now, in any event, technology is going to make it inevitable and that is the case.”
Osinbajo called for innovation across sectoral collaborations between banking and telecommunications sectors, especially as regards providing products that are tailored to different customers segment.
“One obvious way to rapidly scale up financial inclusion is clearly to leverage mobile technology and the more room that we can give to these payments systems, the better for us all. So making headway in this context involves innovation across sectorial collaborations between banking and telecommunications sectors.”
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38 million Nigerian adults, translating to about 36% of the total adult population in the country, were financially excluded by the end of 2020. This figure falls short of the revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets, which projected a 20% exclusion rate for the period under review.