As the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project runs to an end June 30, about 14 million Nigerians who are yet to be captured in the exercise, may lose access to various banking services except the exercise is extended.
The Bankers’ Committee, which comprises of the CBN, bank CEOs and a few other stakeholders, had given June 30, 2015 as the deadline for customers to do their biometric registration and obtain their BVNs.
However, as of June 11, 2015, the committee said only 14 million customers had been registered under the project.
Going by current statistics from the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access, an organisation committed to deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria, only about 28.6 million adults in the country have bank accounts.
This means that at least 14 million bank customers are yet to do their biometric registration and get their BVNs, which will help banks to identify customers through their fingerprints. Each bank customer’s fingerprint is linked to their unique number.
It is meant to help check fraud in the banking system, boost retail or consumer credit, and also enhance economic growth.
The Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, who spoke after the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja about three weeks ago, confirmed that only about 12.5 million bank customers had been registered since the exercise began.
The Managing Director, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc, the organisation driving the biometric registration process, Mr. Ade Shonubi, had a few weeks ago said it was unlikely that the Bankers’ Committee would extend the deadline.
While there are 28.6 million bank accounts belonging to adults in Nigeria, the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria states that the number of bank account holders (made up of both individuals, including children, and organisations) has reached 76 million out of a population of 170 million people.
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