Economist canvasses adequate bank security in rural areas

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Prof. Ndubisi Nwokoma, a Professor of Economics,  on Tuesday said that provision of adequate security was essential to encourage deposit money banks to operate in rural areas of the country.

Nwokoma, who is the Head of the Department of Economics, University of Lagos, Akoka, expressed the view in an interview, in Lagos.

“Financial inclusion is talking about bringing in the unbanked to ensure that they are captured into the financial system and are able to carry out transactions using the advanced system.

“I think this is achievable once the Central Bank can guarantee security for the conventional money banks in each rural area.

“There were banks in some rural areas in the country, but today many have closed their branches because of security issues.

“So, there should be adequate provision made for there to be armed and well-trained security men to guard the banks.

“The high level of poverty in the country has increased bank robbery and made the banks targets,’’ he said.

Nwokoma also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to streamline some of its policies in a way that would encourage appropriate and licensed banking institutions to help achieve financial inclusion target of 95 per cent by 2024.

NAN reports that CBN recently raised Nigeria’s financial inclusion target to 95 per cent from 80 per cent set in 2012, and extended the target year to 2024 from 2020 previously.

The apex bank said that the review was necessitated by the recent data from Enhancing Financial Innovative and Access (EFInA) indicating that 36.8 per cent eligible Nigerian adults still did not have access to financial services as of 2018, and the likelihood of achieving the 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020 became slimmer.

Suzan O