By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has pledged stronger synergy with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) especially in the provision of mobile money services for the actualisation of the 80 percent financial inclusion target by the end of this year.
Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta disclosed this during the Interactive Session with Media Chiefs and Editors in Abuja.
Financial Inclusion, according to World Bank, means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs-transactions, payments, savings,credit and insurance -delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
The World Bank Group considers financial inclusion a key enabler to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, and had put forward an ambitious global goal to reach Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020.
According to Global Findex data 2019, about 1.7billion adults remain unbanked- without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. In 2014 that number was 2 billion.
In Nigeria, precisely, October 23, 2012, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) was launched. According to the strategy, financial inclusion is achieved “when adult Nigerians have easy access to a broad range of formal financial services that meet their needs at affordable cost.”
The implementation of the NFIS is aimed at reducuing the number of eligible adult Nigerians that are excluded from the formal financial system from 46.3% in 2010 to 20 percent by the year, 2020.
The data released by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) in 2019 indicated that about 36.8% of eligible Nigerian adults do not have access to financial services.
All these, made CBN mobilised stakeholders within and outside the Financial Sector to push for the actualisation of 80 percent financial inclusion target by the year, 2020.
Meanwhile, the NCC boss has disclosed that the Commission has continued to collaborate with the CBN and the banks in the area of NFIS.
“Today, Mobile network Operators (MNOs) participate fully in the provision of mobile money services to help actualize the 80% financial inclusion target of the Federal Government by the end of 2020. Through the issuance of USSD Short Codes to banks and other financial institutions, we have helped to boost financial inclusion,” he added.