50 Million Unbanked Nigerians Targeted By CBN, Banks
The Central Bank of Nigeria, Deposit Money Banks, licensed mobile money operators and super agents have agreed to roll out 500,000 Shared Agent Network to accelerate financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The agreement would enable them to fund the expansion of SAN to deepen financial inclusion in the country.
The agreement entails an aggressive rollout of 500,000 agent network within two years to offer basic financial services, such as cash-in, cash-out, funds transfer, bill payments, airtime purchase, government disbursements as well as remote enrollment on BMS infrastructure (Bank Verification Number) to an estimated 50 million Nigerians that are currently under-banked or unbanked.
Ten licensed mobile money operators and super agents are expected to deploy financial services agents or outlets immediately in underserved urban and rural areas in Nigeria, with higher priority in the Northern geo-political zones where financial exclusion is most predominant.
According to a statement, the approved CBN–Bankers Committees’ rollout ratio are: North-East 30 per cent; North-West 30 per cent; North-Central 20 per cent; South-South 7.5 per cent; South-East 7.5 per cent; and South-West five per cent.
The statement noted that some of the prequalified CBN-licensed operators include Capricorn Digital Limited, Cellulant Nigeria Limited, eTranzact Limited, Innovectives Limited, Inlaks Limited, Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services Limited, Paga Tech Limited and Unified Payments Nigeria Plc.
According to the plan, the CBN and Nigerian banks will over the next few months also roll out new initiatives, products and services to accelerate and deepen financial inclusion in the country.
To this end, renewed focus will be given to driving low cost digital access, broadening financial literacy campaigns, and creating micro loans, micro insurance and micro investment products for the benefit of excluded, underserved and low-income Nigerians.
Commenting on the Shared Agent Network expansion programme, the Chairman, Body of Bank CEOs, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc said, “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 over 500,000 new jobs over the next two years”.
Commenting on behalf of the mobile money operators, the founder and CEO of Paga, Tayo Oviosu, was quoted as saying, “To significantly grow financial inclusion in Nigeria we need to offer truly effective digital financial services that operate on all mobile telecom networks and a robust nationwide network of agents for convenient access.”
“The Shared Agent Network Expansion programme supports our plans to rapidly scale up the agent network over the next year. With this expansion program, the entire financial industry will reach deeper into even more communities and give millions of Nigerians convenient access to financial services.”