Nigerians still do not have access to finance despite the proliferation of commercial banks in the country over the years.
The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Mr Umar Ibrahim, stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He specifically lamented that about 60 per cent of Nigerians lacked access to finance.
He noted that for Nigerians to be taken out of poverty, their inclusion in financial accessibility must be ensured.
Umar stressed the need to create the required financial accessibility for downtrodden Nigerians.
He said to achieve this, more microfinance and payment service banks would have to be licensed and established at the hinterlands across the country.
He said, “The issue of financial inclusion is very critical globally; we have a lot of statistics that indicate clearly that about 60 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to finance.
“People travel for hundreds of kilometres before they can reach a branch of commercial or microfinance bank.
“There are local government areas and communities that do not have a branch of any bank.
“They do not have ATM machines. We are working hard to ensure that the situation is changed by addressing the problem of poverty.
“In achieving this, Nigeria has signed ombudsman to eradicate or to eliminate the problem of access to finance.
“Measures have also been taken to ensure that we gain more mileage in this area by way of establishing more microfinance banks, licensing mobile banks and the creation of agents banks, “ he said.
He also explained that access to financial inclusion spoke not only to somebody walking into a bank or using his phone to make transactions.
He said it included allowing the citizens to be able to access information, get help, and get small loans in a very responsive and responsible manner.
This, he explained, would enable Nigerians to be able to have a sustainable livelihood and thriving business.
He, however, urged the 9th National Assembly to revisit the request of the corporation for the repeal and reenactment of its Act, which didn’t scale through during the 8th Assembly.
The NDIC boss assured Nigerians that the corporation was putting on the ground more stringent measures against financial and cyber frauds.
The Senate President assured the NDIC boss that the 9th National Assembly would work on the Act the 8th Assembly couldn’t finish.
He tasked the NDIC and the banking sector generally to provide the required financial facilities for Nigerians who were interested in Agriculture in line with the diversification policy of the government.