The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the country’s financial inclusion rate stood at has achieved 63.2 percent in 2018.
The apex bank which made the disclosure on Monday in its 2018 Annual Report on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Implementation posted on its website, said the figure showed a marginal increase of 4.8 per cent from 58.4 per cent in 2016 to 63.2 per cent in 2018.
According to the report, the figure was achieved through its biannual financial inclusion survey conducted within the period reviewed.
It added that the measurement also disaggregated financial inclusion data on state-by-state level for the first time.
The regulator said the data showed significant improvement in the North West and North East zones with the two zones being more disproportionally excluded than any other zone.
They both stood at 62 per cent and 55 per cent exclusion rates respectively.
“The Southwest remained the only region to have surpassed the targeted 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020, with 19 per cent exclusion rate recorded in 2018.’’
The CBN described 2018 as an important year that brought a massive shift in financial inclusion policy approach.
It added that it was the “Year of Landmark Financial Inclusion Policies and Initiatives in addition to being a measurement year.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the overall objective of financial inclusion is to bring the underserved segment of the population into the formal financial system by providing them with access to financial services.
It said improved access to finance was an important factor in accelerating sustainable economic growth, reducing poverty and unemployment, and enhancing the stability of the financial sector.
The financial inclusion is the provision of a broad range of financial services which are relevant, appropriate and affordable for the entire adult population especially the low income and rural segment of Nigeria’s population.
Such services include, but not limited to: savings, credit, insurance, payments, remittances and pensions.