Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said the apex bank is working on increasing financial inclusion through a non-interest development finance.
Emefiele made this known while delivering a keynote address at the 10th-anniversary conference of Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) in Lagos.
“Already, we are working towards the creation of a non-interest window for the development financing interventions. The interest-free window will assimilate a large section of the population excluded due to their aversion for interest and interest-based products, into the financial system.” Emefiele said.
The governor, who was represented by Nwanisobi Osita, Deputy Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN said the bank had set up the framework for the establishment of Payment Service Banks.
“Also the recently launched the framework for the establishment of payment service banks to facilitate and enhance digital payments in collaboration with micro small and medium enterprises,” he said.
According to Emefiele, the bank was already working on the implementation of the MSME development fund, which will bring more people into the financial banking fold.
The CBN governor announced that the CBN has set a 2020 target to achieve 80 percent financial inclusion throughout Nigeria, stating that the southwest region of the country had crossed that threshold in 2018, with 82 percent inclusion.
Emefiele said the bank is working with telecommunications companies to drive financial inclusion in the country, especially in the northeast and northwest, where the numbers are still below 40 percent.
Nairametrics had reported that recent data suggested that the CBN has been lagging in its drive to achieve 80% financial inclusion in Nigeria.
However, in order to achieve its objectives, the CBN had introduced several measures including a revision of the Microfinance Banking regulation, the introduction of Agent Banking, Tiered Know Your Customer requirements, and Mobile Money Operations. All these measures appear not to have achieved its desired outcome.