According to a report released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday, financial inclusion rate has increased to 63.2% as at the end of 2018, this means 63.2% of the Nigerian population now have access to financial services – whether formal or informal. This puts the population financially excluded at 36.8%.
The report stated that financial inclusion increased from 58.4% in 2016 to 63.2% in 2018, this is 16.8% away from the 2020 target of 80% financial inclusion. CBN said to meet the target, 100,000 adults need to be served by 62 agents, of which only 28.2 agents per 100,000 adults was recorded.
Consequently, the apex bank and the body of Bank CEOs had to setup the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF), which has amongst other objectives, to increase agent network by 500,000 by 2020. Most of these agents will be in areas with high unbanked population like the North West and North East regions.
Of the 63.2%, 48.7% of the financially included population have access to formal financial services provided by insurance companies, microfinance banks, pension schemes, or mobile money operators. While 14.6% are informally included, this means they had access to financial services like Esusu, Ajo, or money lender.
The CBN had launched a framework titled ‘The Nigerian National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS)’ in October 2012 to increase the financially included population to 80% by 2020. In addition, the strategy stipulates that 70% of those to be included should be from the formal sector of the economy.