More Nigerians have been added to the nation’s financial system, as data on the website of the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicate that total active accounts stood at 59 million, higher than the 47.2 million active accounts which the country had at the beginning of 2015.
This corroborated the Bankers’ Committee meeting earlier position that 66 per cent of the country’s adult population have been included in the financial system.
While addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s director, Banking Supervision, Tokunbo Martins said that 57 million Nigerians, which represent 66 per cent of the bankable population, now have access to financial services.
According to her:
“It is very important for 170 million Nigerians to have some form of access to financial services and so I am happy to report that there has been substantial improvement. The target that we are working on is 68.5 per cent by the end of December 2016 and so if that target is achieved, I think we would have gone a long way in alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians.”
This represents a huge step forward as in 2008, the number of financially-included Nigerians was less than half the bankable population. A report by the EFInA showed that more than 52 per cent of the Nigerian bankable populace was excluded from the financial sector.
This means that in every six Nigerians sampled in 2008, only about four them had access to one form of financial service or the other. Financial services in this context, however, goes beyond commercial banking as it includes micro financing, insurance, mortgage, amongst others.