In its revised National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is targeting 476 agents per 10,000 Adult by 2020. The initial target for agents was 62 per 100,000 adults in the 2012 Strategy document.
Recall that the apex bank adopted the NFIS in 2012. The strategy articulated the demand-side, supply-side and regulatory barriers to financial inclusion, identified areas of focus, set targets, determined key performance indicators (KPIs) and established the implementation structure.
The NFIS was built on four strategic areas of agency banking, mobile banking/mobile payments, linkage models and client empowerment.
According to the revised document, the justification for this new figure is based on recent developments in the financial sector aimed at taking financial services to the unserved and under-served using branchless platforms such as agent banking and digital platforms.
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It is estimated that at least 500,000 Agents should be available to serve about 105 million adults population in Nigeria by the year 2020. This gives about 476 Agents per 100,000 adults.
Emphasis has drastically shifted in favour of mobile money and bank agents in view of the fact that this brings financial services closer to the people and provides platform for offering simple diversified low cost financial services across the broad spectrum of excluded population in Nigeria.
The Financial Inclusion Secretariat which has been set up within the CBN shall take responsibility for day-to-day reporting, coordination and implementation of the Strategy.
It shall continue to receive guidance on its activities from the Steering and Technical Committees as already constituted
The overall responsibility for supervision of the activities of the Secretariat shall be performed by the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee, which will in turn, shall provide updates to the National Economic Council (NEC).
According to the revised document, five priorities will be most crucial to increasing financial inclusion in Nigeria as follows:
- Creation of an enabling environment for the expansion of DFS,
- Enablement of the rapid growth of agent networks with nationwide reach
- Harmonization of the KYC requirements for opening and operating accounts/mobile wallets on all financial services platform
- Creation of an enabling environment to serving the most excluded and
- Improvement of the adoption of cashless payment channels, particularly in government-to-person and person-to-government payments.