Nigerians need bank accounts to boost financial inclusion – CBN

Asma'u Halilu

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Headquarters, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kaduna branch, Ahmed Muhammed Wali urges Nigerians to open bank accounts for the purpose of financial inclusion.
He mentioned this in an interview when he led a delegation to the government house to discuss the progress of the financial inclusion program in Kaduna.
The Controller said: “the program is a National strategy which was established in 2012. It is meant to encourage about eighty percent of Nigerians towards opening bank accounts by 2020.
“Every state is given a target which requires collaborators and stakeholders to achieve, hence the need to update the State government on every progress made”.
Wali further explained that: “the essence and benefit of the program to Nigerians is for them to access loan to run businesses, inculcate saving attitudes and also improve their livelihood.
“The financial inclusion program reduces poverty so i hereby call on all Nigerians to access bank accounts in order to access financial services, boost their businesses, well being and economic power.
“The program has recorded high acceptability especially in the southern part of the Country but there is low acceptance of the program in North East and West regions basically due to Islamic belief that prohibits loans with interest rates”.
He however assured that, there are a few banks that provide product and services without interest rates, saying, even the CBN has a window for the provision such services.
Wali said, other barriers which poses as challenge to the program is the lack of accessibility of banks in rural areas,  difficulty in opening bank accounts and the high rate of interest on loans.
The Controller called on Governor El-Rufai to support them with financial infrastructures in the rural areas in order to make accessibility easier and also appoint a liaison officer that will serve as an intermediary between government and CBN.
On her part, Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe applauded the CBN for initiating the program, saying, it has helped people in accessing financial services for the betterment of their lives.
“Kaduna State government has also encouraged women access bank accounts by issuing 200million loan to women across the State.
“More than 70% of the women did not have bank accounts prior to the loan disbursement. We will disburse 400 million naira this year and 800 million naira next year”, she stressed.
She however called on CBN to open bank branches in many LGAs in the State to achieve their desired target.
Suzan O