Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has put the present rate of financial exclusion in the country at 60.5 percent.
This means that over 100 million Nigerians are financially excluded in the system.
This was disclosed by the apex bank’s director of Banking Supervision, Mrs Tokumbo Martins, yesterday during press briefing after the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja.
Mrs Martins, who admitted that the bankers considered the rate unacceptable for a country that wants to attain the status of a financial hub of West Africa by 2020, however stated that bankers’ executives at the meeting agreed to reduce the rate before 2020.
According to the CBN banking supervision boss, “The target of banks is for the country to attain 80 percent financial inclusion by the year 2020. This means that about six million people would be captured in the banking system every year or eight percent of the Nigerian population.”
To achieve this, Mrs Martins said that banks had been mandated to increase customer base, customer savings and operation leakages in the system.
Other strategies include creating awareness on electronic banking, agent banking and to expand rural banking in the country.
She also disclosed plans by deposit money banks to increase credit lines to micro finance banks to enable them fund small holders’ credit in the system.
Speaking on the retrenchment gale that is trending in the sector presently, managing director/CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs Bola Adeseola said that the bank chiefs resolved to put a hold on further retrenchment, noting that the retrenchment was caused by the present market sentiment that has hit the sector negatively in recent times.
According to him, “We have resolved to work on ways of avoiding further retrenchment. But understand that it is not only banks that are retrenching Telecommunications and other sectors are equally doing the same. That tells you that what is going on is not just about banks but situation of the economy called for it. However, the issue formed part of our discussion and there was agreement for each bank to explore ways of ending it.
“Other issues that came up during the bankers’ committee meeting include the plan by the banks to play its role in economic development by funding the real sector of the economy.”
Speaking in that regard, managing director/CEO, Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa said that CBN wants to create a framework known as collateral register that would help make lending very robust.
With the new framework, customers can be allowed to use movable assets such as vehicle, share certificates, computers and other non-fix assets as collateral when taking a loan from banks and still retain the assets for use provided that the loans are serviced.
Also, managing director, United Bank of Africa, Philip Oduoza said that the CBN was still working on the model of the flexible exchange rate that would suite the country’s environment before releasing it. According to him, “The flexible policies obtained in other environments are modelled according to their peculiarity.
Nigeria has its own peculiarity and when the framework is eventually released, it will take care of all angles.”
While describing black market as an infinitesimal aspect of the foreign exchange market, Oduoza warned that the market speculators will have their fingers burnt when new framework is out. He also assured Nigerians that CBN was working round the clock to release the framework as soon as possible.

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