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60 percent of Nigerians lack Access to Finance, says NDIC Boss

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Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr Umar Ibrahim, on Wednesday declared over 60 percent of Nigerians lack access to finance despite the proliferation of commercial banks in the country.

The NDIC boss said that the only way to lift Nigerians out of poverty was through massive inclusion in financial accessibility.

Ibrahim spoke in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The NDIC boss, who led top management team of the corporation on the visit, suggested the institutionalisation of the required financial accessibility for ordinary Nigerians and creation of more micro finance and payment service banks.

He also said that more financial institutions should be licensed and established at the hinterlands across the country for easy access to ordinary Nigerians.

Ibrahim said: “The issue of financial inclusion is very critical globally, we have a lot of statistics that indicate clearly that about 60% of Nigerians do not have access to finance.

“People travel for hundreds of kilometers before they can reach a branch of Commercial or micro finance Bank.

“There are local government and communities that do not have any branch of bank. They do not have ATM machines, they have nothing and you cannot achieve those without some kind of sustainable financial inclusion.

“We are working hard to ensure that the situation is changed in 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 been taken to ensure that we gain more mileage in this area by way of establishing more micro finance banks, licensing mobile banks, creation of agent banks.”

He said that access to financial inclusion means not only walking into a bank or using his phone to make transactions but also allowing the citizen to be able to access information, get help, get small loans  in a responsive and responsible manner so that he or she can be able to have a sustainable livelihood and thriving  business.

The NDIC boss urged the Ninth National Assembly to revisit the request of the corporation for repeal and reenactment of its Act which failed to sail through during the Eight National Assembly.

He assured the corporation is putting up more stringent measures against financial and cyber frauds.

According to him: “We are working very hard on issues pertaining to fraud and forgery in the banks.
“We are interfacing with relevant offices and other stakeholders to minimize incidences of cyber crime in our banking system.

“The banks are being encouraged to ensure that they have full proof cyber security system so as to minimize the incidences of hacking which results in serious loses to the banking system and loss of earnings and loss of confidence.

“Part of the emerging trends globally in the banking space is the emergence of block chains technology and crypto currency. Crypto currency is one example of block chain technology. These are new innovations that can be effectively used in checkmating fraud.”

Lawan assured the NDIC boss that the 9th National Assembly will work on the Act the 8th Assembly could not finished.

The Senate President tasked the NDIC and the banking sector generally to provide required financial facilities for Nigerians interested in agriculture in line with the diversification policy of the government.

Lawan said: “In the Nigerian economy you have a role to play in that economy and for us we would want to achieve an economy where Nigeria is at advantage and Nigerians get equal doses of opportunity.

“Those at the very lowest ladder of society, those that are particularly disadvantaged should be given opportunities that ordinarily will not be available.

“This administration will want to emphasize particularly that banks hardly provide facilities for agricultural products but do to other projects, that is a big problem.

 “On one hand as a government, we want to diversify, we want to encourage agriculture but on the other hand, banks are not doing the needful for those who want to invest in the sector.

“The facilities are not easily met and where they are available the interest rates are out of the roof. This is enough to discourage our people and the trend must please be changed “.

Source: thenationonlineng

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