CBN begins registration of agent banks

By The Citizen

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it had commenced registration of agent banks to drive its financial inclusion strategy.

Mr Paul Eluhaiwe, CBN Director of  Development Finance, disclosed this at 18th seminar for finance correspondents and business editors in Umuahia, Abia.

The theme of the seminar is 'Financial Inclusion Initiatives in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects'.

Eluhaiwe said that more agent banks would be registered before the end of the year.

Agent banking was introduced in the country last year as a measure to further promote the financial inclusion strategy of the apex bank.

Eluhaiwe, however, said that the country was still lagging behind Kenya and South Africa in the financial inclusion strategy.

He stressed the importance of financial inclusion, saying that the financial inclusion policy was aimed at reducing the percentage of financially excluded in the country.

Eluhaiwe said that the ratio of financial excluded  dropped from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 39.7  in 2012 with the optimism to reduce it to 20 per cent by the year 2020.

He said that the South-West geo-political zone of the country now had the lowest exclusion rate of 24.8 per cent, a 25 per cent improvement over 33.1 per cent in 2012.

'The North-Western part of the country, however, recorded the highest level of financial exclusion and the lowest improvement between 2010 and 2012.

'At 63.8 per cent exclusion rate, the zone has recorded a 6.3 per cent improvement over the 2010 figure of 68.1 per cent.

'Financial exclusion has also reduced in the North-East, North-Central,South-East and South-South by 12.9, 26.7, 19.8 and 17.3 per cent to 59.5, 32.4, 25.6 and 30.1 per cent, respectively.

The director said that the CBN expected that about 60 per cent of funds in circulation would be captured in the financial system through the financial inclusion strategy.