Banking & Finance Economy

Financial Inclusion: CBN, banks target 60m Nigerians with 500,000 agents’ network

Customers express disappointment over CBN’s directive on transaction charges
Written by Maritime First

…As NPSA warns: FG, NASS rift can retard Nigeria’s growth***

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), deposit money banks, licensed mobile money operators and super agents yesterday unveiled a new initiative designed to extend financial services to 60 million financially excluded Nigerians by year 2020.

Known as the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF), the initiative entails an aggressive roll out of 500,000 agent network to offer basic financial services, such as Cash-in, Cash-out, funds transfer, bill payments, airtime purchase, government disbursements as well as remote enrolment on BMS Infrastructure (BVN) to an estimated 50 million Nigerians that are currently under-banked.

Chairman, Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, disclosed this in Lagos at a press conference held at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

He stated: This agreement reflects our commitment to aggressively pursue the CBN 2020 Financial Inclusion target in an integrated way with minimal systemic risk to the financial system,. This initiative will also generate 500,000 new jobs over the next two years.” Also speaking, Managing Director/ CEO, GTBank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje said: “Under the agreement, 10 licensed mobile money operators and super agents are expected to immediately deploy financial services agents’ outlets in under-served urban and rural areas in Nigeria, with priority in the Northern geo-political zones where financial exclusion is most predominant.

The approved CBN-Bankers Committee’s roll-out ratio is as follows: North East, 30 percent; North West, 30 percent, North Central, 20 percent, South South 7.5 percent;    South East 7.5 percent; and South West, 5.0 percent.” On her part, MD/CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola disclosed that, “Some of the prequalified CBN licensed operators include Capricorn Digital Limited, e-Tranzact Limited, Innovectives Limited, Inlaks Limited, Interswitch financial Inclusion Services Limited, Paga Tech Limited and Unified Payments Nigeria Plc.”

Explaining the role of the CBN and banks, Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, stated: “According to the plan, the CBN and deposit money banks will over the next few months also roll out new initiatives, products and services to accelerate and deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria. “Over the next three years, Nigerian banks aim to on-board and formally bank 60 million additional Nigerians, an average of 20 million yearly as well as enrol 40 million Nigerians for BVN.

Meanwhile, National Political Science Association, NPSA, yesterday stated that the lingering rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly was capable of retarding the speedy growth and development of the country to a very large extent. President of the association, Professor Shuaib Ibrahim stated this in Abakaliki, at the 31st Annual Conference of the Association scheduled to hold between  27th – 29th March, 2018.

Ibrahim urged the presidency to increase its level of support and confidence on the leadership and members of the national assembly, stressing that the principles of separation of powers must be respected by the two arms of government.

According to him: “Nigerians are generally disturbed with the continuous rift between the presidency and national assembly. Going by the democratic theory especially the doctrine of separation of power, there should be nothing strange when the president and national assembly do have disagreement but it will be difficult to explain when the two arms perpetually locked horns in disagreement.

“While we are not out to apportion blame, it is important to express fear that the lack of cordial relationship has retarded the growth and development of Nigeria. Based on this, both executive and legislature must find the necessary compass to work together given the fact that the two chambers of the national assembly are majorly populated by the members of the ruling APC. “This friction is not only known to Nigerians.

Some donor agencies have expressed worries on the same development, leading them to come up with suggestions. Our position on the matter is that the presidency needs to increase its level of confidence and conversation with the leadership and select members of the national assembly. “It is actually unfortunate that the president is always stripped naked in the national assembly with the voice of his supporters barely noticeable.

He should therefore cultivate the habit of working with the legislature at both official and unofficial levels to increase the chances of his bills and appointments that are routinely being rejected to be considered.

“On the part of the legislature, we urge enough of grandstanding. The notion of being in competition with the president is unhelpful.

The national assembly should be seen working with the president to achieve the laudable policies of the government. We observe, however that the situation in the assembly is as a result of initial contradictions where the opposition party made investment in the leadership that enables it to flex its muscle and get its preferred outcomes almost all the time. While it is too late to correct the contradictions that are inherent in the 8th Assembly, we argue that the verdict that Nigerians passed on both arms of government may be too harsh on them with the president likely to have a fairer judgment based on his perceived high integrity level.

“Of recent, there has been an increase in the number of conflicts involving herders and farmers across Nigeria with Benue State leading the pact. Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau have also experienced and are still experiencing sustained conflicts with many lives lost. Indeed, the president had cause to visit the states in order to commiserate with people who have lost their own during the conflicts.

Vanguard

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Maritime First