Key stakeholders in Nigeria’s financial sector would engage in a robust round table discussion on government’s key policy which centers around inclusive financial system that will cover all strata of the society.
The experts drawn from key private sector organisations and regulatory agencies, according to a statement by Yemisi Izuora, Editor, Oriental News Nigeria, would gather at the inaugural conference on ‘Financial Inclusion’ being hosted by STANMEG Communications, publishers of Oriental News Nigeria.
The Commissioner for Insurance, of the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, Sunday Thomas, who had earlier confirmed participation, also endorsed the theme of the conference, an initiative he said is a major policy drive which NAICOM is passionate about.
Given this endorsement, the statement said that “NAICOM would be joining other key stakeholders from the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, the National Communications Commission (NCC) and First Bank Plc, who will be part of discussants at the confab.
According to the release issued by the organizers, “the conference is being organized given that over the past couple of years, the Federal Government and stakeholders in the financial sector have had to deal with expanding financial services to large community of underserved population and dealing with resilience, challenges brought about by the confluence of events that have taken place.
“They have had to cope with spiralling financial services prices, restricted coverage and dwindling capacity and limits in key lines such as low internet knowledge of certain segments of the society like, market men and women, artisans and some physically challenged persons.
“Financial services now going digital and dearth of knowledge and risen levels of data and associated costs of telecom services brings huge questions about the effectiveness of the initiative and interruption coverage when combined with the supply chain crunch.
“Most underserved groups are demanding cost reductions, and our challenging environment peculiarity is part of why the conference is holding to allow stakeholders take a collective view on how to create a suitable path to advance the initiative.
“STANMEG Communications using rigorous research tools observed huge gap in the financial services system with some members of other social strata excluded.
“Since 2005, the Nigerian financial services sector has witnessed increasing activities by both the government and the regulatory authorities aimed at deliberately promoting policies that are intended to grow financial inclusion.
“The CBN has been at the vanguard of encouraging and supporting products that are specifically targeted at the low income and financially excluded, while the government has focused more on both interventionist financing arrangements and building institutions and frameworks that promote financial inclusion.
“This financial exclusion has significant outcomes for the real sector as lack of access to credit can be a disincentive to entrepreneurship, investment, and economic growth.
“The principle of financial inclusion has assumed greater level of importance in recent times due to its perceived importance as a driver of economic growth. Giving access to the hundreds of millions of men and women who are presently excluded from financial services would provide the possibilities for the creation of a large depository of savings, investable funds, investment and therefore global wealth generation.
“In other words, access to financial services, that are well suited for low-income earners promote enormous capital accumulation, credit creation and investment boom.
“The low-income earners constitute the largest proportion of the population and so control enormous chunk of the economy’s idle fund albeit held in small amounts in the hands of each of the several million members of this group. Harnessing and accumulating these resources provides a huge source of cheap long-term investable capital.
“One of our findings is that all efforts are currently challenged on how to ensure that the poor rural dwellers are carried along considering the lack of financial sophistication among this segment of the Nigerian society due to the general low level of financial literacy.
“It is on this that we are organising the conference as advocacy measure by bringing experts, policy makers and other Key agencies of government in the vanguard of closing the seeming gap to proffer solution on challenges mitigating the initiative.
“The conference will help to advance inclusive financial systems for the identified groups which include Community Based People, Artisans, Low Income Groups, Market Men and Women, Special Persons (Disability Group) that undertake various vocations as well as displaced persons.
“The theme of the conference is “Engaging With Critical Grassroots Groups To Develop Effective Financial Inclusion Initiative” with sub theme ‘Identifying Key Action Areas For Financial Inclusion Strategy’ and is scheduled to hold on June 16, 2022, at the Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja Lagos.”
The conference chairman is Dr. Uju Ogubunka, Chairman, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), while the Guest Speaker is Mallam Garba Kurfi, managing director APT Securities and Funds Limited.