Following the release of the guidelines for agent banking in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has commenced the registration of the agents who are to begin operation soon.
According to the Director, Development Finance Department of the CBN, Mr Paul Eluhaiwe, more agent banks are expected to be registered before the end of the year.
Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it would within the next 10 days inaugurate a Financial Literacy Steering Committee to leverage on the implementation of the financial inclusion strategy through massive sensitisation of consumers across the country.
Agent banking was introduced in the country last year as a measure to further promote the financial inclusion strategy of the apex bank.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the CBN for finance correspondents and business editors in Umuahia, Eluhaiwe reiterated the importance of financial inclusion to the country’s economic development, stressing that the country still lagged behind Kenya and South Africa.
The financial inclusion policy of the government aims to reduce the percentage of financially excluded adults in the country from 46.3 per cent as at 2010 to 20 per cent by the year 2020.
He noted that as at the end of 2012, the exclusion rate had declined from 46.3 per cent to 39.7 per cent, just as he revealed that the south-west geo-political zone of the country has the lowest exclusion rate of 24.8 per cent, a 25 per cent improvement over 33.1 per cent 2012 figure.
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 had recorded a 6.3 per cent improvement over the 2010 figure of 68.1 per cent.
Financial exclusion had also reduced in the North-east, north-central, south-east and south-south by 12.9, 26.7, 19.8 and 17.3 per cents to 59.5, 32.4, 25.6 and 30.1 per cents respectively.
However, Acting Director of the Consumer Protection Department, Mrs. Umma Aminu Dutse, who made this known at the 18th Seminar for Financial Correspondents and Business Editors organised by the apex bank in Umuahia, Abia State, yesterday, said the initiative was amongst others being undertaken by the bank to enhance cooperation and collaboration and adopt a unified approach to financial literacy in the country.