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Financial inclusion hits 74%, Cardoso advocates innovation

The Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Dr Olayemi Cardoso, has called on stakeholders in the economy to be innovative in bridging the financial inclusion gap in the country.

Cardoso said this on Wednesday at the launch of the 2023 Access to Finance Report by non-governmental organisation, Enhancing Financial Inclusion and Access in Lagos.

The new report showed that the percentage of Nigerians captured in the financial services ecosystem had risen to 74 per cent in 2023.

The apex bank governor, who was represented by the CBN Director, Other Financial Institution Supervision, Chibuike Nwaegerue, said that while stakeholders had done so much to improve the figure for financial inclusion, there was still a need to innovate to get more people in the bracket.

He said, “Over the past couple of years, financial inclusion stakeholders have made tremendous efforts in expanding financial service access through the rapid deployment of agents, and the development of a mix of products suitable for the financially excluded demographics.

“Very recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a guideline on linking Tier 1 accounts to the Bank Verification Number and National Identification Number in a bid to ensure that the Banking space is safe for the financially excluded and the economy at large. We, therefore, call on all stakeholders to continue to come up with innovative means through which Financial Inclusion can be leveraged to achieve the economic growth we desire.”

In his remarks at the event, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, who was represented by the Executive Director, Operations, Dayo Obisan, said financial inclusion needed to move beyond the realms of bringing more people into the formal banking net, to helping them maximise the benefits for the long term.

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