By Babajide Komolafe
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), deposit money banks, licensed mobile money operators and super agents yesterday unveiled a new initiative designed to extend financial services to 60 million financially excluded Nigerians by year 2020.
Known as the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF), the initiative entails an aggressive roll out of 500,000 agent network to offer basic financial services, such as Cash-in, Cash-out, funds transfer, bill payments, airtime purchase, government disbursements as well as remote enrolment on BMS Infrastructure (BVN) to an estimated 50 million Nigerians that are currently under-banked.
Chairman, Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, disclosed this in Lagos at a press conference held at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
He stated: 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 500,000 new jobs over the next two years.”
Also speaking, Managing Director/ CEO, GTBank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje said: “Under the agreement, 10 licensed mobile money operators and super agents are expected to immediately deploy financial services agents’ outlets in under-served urban and rural areas in Nigeria, with priority in the Northern geo-political zones where financial exclusion is most predominant. The approved CBN-Bankers Committee’s roll-out ratio is as follows: North East, 30 percent; North West, 30 percent, North Central, 20 percent, South South 7.5 percent; South East 7.5 percent; and South West, 5.0 percent.”
On her part, MD/CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola disclosed that, “Some of the prequalified CBN licensed operators include Capricorn Digital Limited, e-Tranzact Limited, Innovectives Limited, Inlaks Limited, Interswitch financial Inclusion Services Limited, Paga Tech Limited and Unified Payments Nigeria Plc.”
Explaining the role of the CBN and banks, Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, stated: “According to the plan, the CBN and deposit money banks will over the next few months also roll out new initiatives, products and services to accelerate and deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria. “Over the next three years, Nigerian banks aim to on-board and formally bank 60 million additional Nigerians, an average of 20 million yearly as well as enrol 40 million Nigerians for BVN.
“To this end, renewed focus will be given to driving low cost digital access, broadening financial literacy campaigns, and creating micro loans, micro insurance, micro investment products for benefit of excluded, under-served and low income Nigerians” Commenting on behalf of the mobile money operators, Founder and CEO of Paga, Mr. Tayo Oviosu, said: “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 program 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.”