The North East Advocacy on Financial Inclusion on Monday declared the North East region as the least-banked region in Nigeria with less than 30 percent of the adult population having access to basic financial services compared to national average of 37 percent.
Addressing journalists at the flag-off of 167, 000 Bank Verification Number, (BVN) Enrollment Bank Account Opening in Gombe, the Chairman of the group, Mr. Joel Aku attributed the low banked level to challenging geography and decades of insurgency leading to financial literacy crisis and lack of financial inclusion in the region.
“The North East has continued to be one of the least-banked region in the country. In a recently released report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on the state of financial inclusion in Nigeria, it is estimated that less than 30 percent of the adult population in North East have access to basic financial services compared to a national average of 37 percent,” he said.
Aku however said the CBN has continued to pursue the development of financial inclusion to reach the unbanked population and to afford the usage of a broad range of appropriate and quality financial services accessible to all.
He added that the apex bank has already launched the critically important goal of achieving 95 percent financial inclusion by 2024 as well as closing the 8.5 percent gender inclusion gap in Nigeria.
According to him, this effort by Rural Trust Fund is being supported by the CBN as a means of their undying effort to achieve significant success in the North East.
“The drive for financial inclusion in the North East therefore, aims to ensure that all individuals and households regardless of income level can access and effectively use appropriate financial services and products to improve living standards. The advocacy campaign will be exploring ways of deepening financial inclusion in Gombe and especially Gombe Central Senatorial Distribution by way of mass BVN enrollment so that those at bottom of the pyramid can have better access to diverse range of financial services,” he said.
He added that the goal is to collaborate with stakeholders to raise financial literacy levels through a long term regional advocacy and awareness campaign of the targeted population adding that the involvement of relevant stakeholders is necessary so as to ensure that they become part of the initiative aimed at increasing access and usage of financial services.
The target, Aku said, is to reach undeserved communities by taking financial inclusion to the last mile doorstep of the unbanked.
“The mass BVN enrollment of the unbanked through North East Advocacy process involves multiple stages including stakeholders engagement, data collection, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. The scope of work requires team work at various levels and involvement of local policymakers and stakeholders that will drive implementation of financial inclusion in deep rural communities,” he said.
He said it is now a well founded fact that giving low-income households, especially women, access to financial services can make a critical contribution to reducing poverty and addressing inequality.
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