Business

At Oriental News summit, stakeholders canvass financial inclusion, literacy

 By JOHNMARK UKOKO

The Federal Government’s and Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) initiatives to rescue adults towards achieving financial inclusion and financial literacy received a boost during STANMEG Communications conference at the weekend in Lagos,

Speaking at the conference with the theme: Engaging Critical Grassroots Groups To Develop Effective Financial Inclusion Initiative, in Lagos at the weekend, Editor of Oriental News Online, Mrs. Yemisi Izuora, said the conference was initiated about two years ago after a painstaking study on the progress and prospects of the initiative.

She said the journey began in 2020 and the feedbacks generated, especially from grassroots segments of the society prompted publishers of Oriental News online

“to organise what we are about to share today from state actors and non-state actors alike.

“The conference is organised given that over the past couple of years, the Federal Government and stakeholders in the financial sector have had to deal with expanding financial services to large communities of underserved populations and the need to deal with resilience challenges due to confluence of events that have taken place,” she said.

In his presentation, Chairman of the occasion and President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), Dr. Uju Ogubunka, disclosed that the concept of financial inclusion was mooted in 2012 when CBN lunched the initiative as a result that majority of the country’s adults do not have bank accounts.

He explained that at that time there were no insurance policies or capital market involvements, adding that the CBN and other financial regulators have done a lot to promote the initiative.

Ogubunka commended the publishers of Oriental News online for the initiative and urged all Nigerians to support the policy, because the more Nigerian adults that are financially included, the better will the country’s economy.

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He also appealed to Nigerian adults to open accounts in banks, buy insurance policies, actively participate in the capital market activities and subscribe to pension services to improve their financial status.

He lamented that a research carried out by the CBN showed that about 54 per cent of women were not financially inclusive as against 39.2 per cent of male adults, adding that despite Federal Government and CBN’s efforts to motivate more Nigeria adults into financial inclusion, more work still needed to be done by Nigerians to ensure that the policy succeeds.

“In 2012 when the policy was launched, the CBN targeted that by the year 2020, most Nigerian adults would have been financially included. 2020 has come and gone, I am not sure we have achieved the target,” he said.

In his presentation, Managing Director of APT Securities and Funds Limited, and Guest Speaker at the event, Garba Kurfi, charged Nigerian adults to embrace financial services and stop keeping their money under their pillows.

Kurfi, who was represented by Rotimi Olubi, said if all the money outside the banks and all the transactions in the Macro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) being done outside the formal sector are formalised, the better the Nigerian economy would become.

He said: “A business may have great potential, but if the business owner is not financially inclusive, such business can’t grow. Our economy will grow faster if more Nigerian adults are financially included. All of us must join in propagating the gospel.

“The more financially literate one becomes the better his financial status. One may be highly educated without being financial literate. While some people not much educated, some few financially literate ones will do r better than the educated ones, who lack financial literacy,” he stressed.

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