The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, said that financial education remains of great importance to the bank, until financial services becomes affordable to the un-banked in the society.
Emefiele, represented by CBN’s Director, Human Resources, Mr Edward Lamtek ,said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Financial Literacy Summit to commemorate the 2017 Global Money Week, with the theme “Learn, Save, Earn’’.
Present at the summit were primary and junior secondary students from various public and private schools within the Federal Capital Territory.
He said that financial inclusion ensures that irrespective of income level, all individuals, households and businesses have access to appropriate and affordable financial services products.
“We are concerned about the level of financial inclusion because individuals and households lacking adequate access to affordable and convenient formal financial services would be severely constrained in participating fully in the economy.
“This will imply that the financial sector would be constrained in terms of expansion, as the disposable income in the hands of excluded persons could constitute greater savings and wider deposit base for banks.
“To address our financial inclusion challenges, we have continued to implement various initiatives to ensure that as much of the eligible target population has the opportunity to access a variety of financial services.
“These services, ranges from credit, savings and payments, remittances, pensions, capital markets and insurance services,’’ he said.
Emefiele said that for consumers to fully utilise these services, it was important that they increase their financial literacy skills, complemented by consumer protection measures of the CBN.
The CBN boss expressed happiness over the approval of the Financial Literacy Curriculum at basic and senior secondary schools level, which would commence at the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic year.
He said that the apex bank was currently developing a Teacher’s Guide to aid the teaching of financial education in formal school system.
“This I hope will be one of my legacies to the youth and to the country as the CBN Governor, ’he said.
Meanwhile, The Director, Consumer Protection, CBN, Mrs Umma Dutse reiterated the apex bank’s commitment to ensure financial inclusion, through continued financial education of consumers.
“It is only when the vast majority of the Nigerian population is financially literate that they can participate and take up opportunities from the formal financial system, thereby contributing to financial stability.
“Financial education is no doubt crucial to the future and stability of our financial system,’’ she said.
It will be recalled that a survey conducted in Nigeria in 2008 by a development finance organisation, the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access revealed that about 53 per cent of adults were excluded from financial services.
The global pursuit of financial inclusion as a vehicle for economic development had a positive effect in Nigeria as the exclusion rate reduced from 53 per cent in 2008 to 46.3 per cent in 2010.
Encouraged by the positive development, the CBN on October 23, 2012 launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy aimed at further reducing the exclusion rate to 20 per cent by 2020.
Specifically, adult Nigerians with access to payment services is to increase from 21.6 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2020, while those with access to savings should increase from 24 per cent to 60 per cent.
Also, access to credit is targeted to increase from 2 per cent to 40 per cent, Insurance from 1 per cent to 40 per cent and Pensions from 5 per cent to 40 per cent, within the same period.