Financial inclusion: CBN sets fresh targets for banks

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…As Stocks gain N517bn in one day, 60 firms soar***

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set state-by-state target for the 21 commercial banks and 942 Micro finance banks in the country to ensure that every Nigerian adult has access to financial services.

Mrs Elizabeth Agu, the CBN Branch Controller, Federal Capital Territory, made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the Financial Inclusion State Steering Committee (FISSCO).

She said CBN had broken down the target state-by-state “to ensure that the masses and people at the grassroots have access to financial services such as payments, savings, credit, insurance and pension.”

She added that target for banks was set because the CBN planned to achieve 80 per cent financial inclusion by 2020, yet two years to the deadline, the country had only achieved 41.6 per cent.

She explained that “the cut-cutting and diverse nature of the targeted services require collaborative efforts by stakeholders in the financial sector, especially at the grassroots.

“In particular, financial service providers at the state level are pertinent to achieving at least 80 per cent inclusion of adult population by the year 2020.

“To achieve this, each of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) operating in the FCT have the target to get a minimum of 1,500 new savings customers by 2018, the Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) have the target to open at least 2,500 new accounts.

“The DMBs in the FCT have to also offer credit to at least 600 fresh individuals and for the MFBs, they have the target of ensuring that at least 1,000 customers are offered fresh credit.”

Agu said that the CBN also planned to adopt special strategies for the North East, North West and North Central, where financial exclusion rate was very high.

She noted that “we are also conceptualising on ways and means to reach out to women whose culture and religion require specialised products and channels.

“We remain committed to reaching out to everybody with appropriate financial products, even in the southern part of the country where significant progress is achieved in the last two years.”

Agu said that the newly inaugurated FISSCO, which would be responsible for ensuring that the targets were achieved at the grassroots in the FCT, would be chaired by the CBN Branch Controller for FCT.

Meanwhile, Mr Christian Ohaa, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration,  pledged to work with the CBN to ensure that the target set for the FCT was achieved.

He said “it is expected that banks operating in the FCT should include 671,000 new savings customers and 266,000 credit customers before the end of 2018.

“This will form the focus of our struggle in the next months. The target for other products such as insurance, pension, capital market products will come later.”

Representatives of the Deposit Money Banks and Micro Finance Banks were present at the meeting.

In the meantime, the Nigerian stock market appreciated by N517bn on Wednesday as the Nigerian Stock Exchange All- Share Index gained 3.6 per cent to settle at 41.816.11 basis points.

A total of 60 stocks appreciated as the year-to-date return expanded to 9.3 per cent.

The NSE market capitalisation rose to N14.88tn from N14.363tn. Similar to prior sessions, performance was buoyed by a rally across sectors, with Dangote Cement Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc appreciating respectively by four per cent, 5.1 per cent and 6.7 per cent, thus lifting the market for the third day in a row.

Activity level also improved as volume and value traded rose by 41.2 per cent and 68.5 per cent to 1.088 billion units and N13.296bn, respectively.

Sector Performance was positive as all indices closed on positive notes. The banking index led the gainers chart, up by 5.3 per cent following sustained buying interest in GTBank and Zenith Bank. The industrial goods index followed, appreciating by 3.9 per cent owing to price appreciation in Dangote Cement.

Similarly, the consumer goods and insurance indices soared by 2.4 per cent and two per cent, respectively, due to gains in Nigerian Breweries Plc, International Breweries Plc, Continental Reinsurance Plc and NEM Insurance Nigeria Plc, which appreciated respectively by 4.3 per cent, 5.3 per cent, 4.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent.

The oil/gas index also gained, rising by 0.9 per cent on the back of an appreciation of 10.2 per cent in Conoil Plc.

Investor sentiment surged, following 60 stocks’ advancement against three decliners.

The best performing stocks were Conoil, Eterna Plc and Champion Breweries Plc, which rose by 10.2 per cent, 10.2 per cent and 10 per cent, accordingly, while Guinness Nigeria Plc, UACN Property Development Company Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc emerged as the worst stocks, sliding by 1.8 per cent, one per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively.

Thus, commenting on the state of the equities market, analysts at Afrinvest Securities, in a note, said, “Following the sustained rally in the equities market, we re-iterate our positive near-term outlook while anticipating the possibility of profit taking in subsequent sessions.”

Additional report from Punch

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