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EFInA Survey Shows 58.4% Nigerian Adults Now Financially Served

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(L-r): Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, chairman Senate Committee on Banking & Financial Institutions; Ms. Modupe Ladipo, chair, EFInA’s Board; Dr. Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, Senior Economic Advisor, Open Society Foundations (OSF); Her Majesty Queen Maxima, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Financial Inclusion for Development, of the Netherlands and Lamido Sanusi Lamido, Emir of Kano, at the EFInA Financial Inclusion Workshop in Abuja.

By peter oluka

In a bid to reduce poverty and achieve inclusive economic growth in Nigeria, Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), a financial sector development organization hosted a workshop with stakeholders such as the Federal Government, United Nations (UN), Heads of Federal Financial Inclusion Initiatives, Academics, Financial Institutions and Financial Services Regulators in Nigeria to advocate for the implementation of policies to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.

The theme of the workshop was ‘’The Role of Government in Driving Financial Inclusion in Nigeria’’.

Ms. Modupe Ladipo, the chair of EFInA’s Board, shared key barriers responsible for increasing the financially excluded population in Nigeria.

She indicated that “generally, income levels in Nigeria are very low. 19.6% of Nigerians mainly get their source of income from non-farming business while 19.1% get theirs from family business (subsistence or commercial farming).

Only 4.2% of the adult population get their source of income from the formal sector. In addition, she commented that EFInA observed that the North has a high level of financial exclusion. This is as a result of massive job losses, limited resources and no basic necessities of opening a bank account.

Out of 96.4 million adults in Nigeria, 56.3 million (58.4% of the adult population) are now financially served.

40.1 million Nigerian adults (41.6% of the adult population) are financially excluded (without any form of access to financial services). The National Financial Inclusion Strategy target is to lower this figure to 20.0% of the adult population by 2020’’.

She highlighted the issue of inaccurate data in assessing economic growth in Nigeria. ‘‘There are lots of issues in terms of validation and credibility. According to National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), only 6% of Nigerians are duly registered as at 2016. Only 24% of the population has a Bank Verification Number (BVN). We really need to devise how to get a unique form of identification so that we can start to address some of these issues.

She emphasized that the number of microfinance adult users declined from 2.6 million in 2014 to 1.8 million in 2016.

There is a general problem around trust as the licenses of some microfinance banks have been revoked. With a lot of bank charges, account owners are left with little money in their bank account.

Similarly, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Her Majesty, Queen Maxima of Netherlands, gave a keynote address on the ‘Transformative Power of Financial Inclusion’.

She stated that adopting inclusive strategy is a powerful tool to expanding opportunities for all Nigerians.

She highlighted the current progress made in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, and emphasised to stakeholders the need for high-level political leadership and the participation of the private sector in achieving the targets. Queen Maxima went on to stress that allowing mobile operators to provide mobile money accounts can be a game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria, and that stakeholders prioritise the development of inclusive retail e-payments system that serves as a basis to distribute other financial services such as savings, payment, credit and insurance services.

She stated that the process of revising Nigeria’s financial strategy indicates huge opportunities to leverage technology. ‘‘Utilizing technology and expanding mobile money is one of the most promising tools to addressing this gap.  It allows user to access their accounts remotely through their mobile devices.

Currently Nigeria has 58.2 million unique mobile phone users, the contrast to 27 million using mobile banking.

This underscores the immense potential which mobile banking shows for advancing financial inclusion.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, shared insights on “The Role of Government in Ensuring Financial Institutions Address the Needs of Masses”.

Senator Ibrahim highlighted Federal Government initiatives aimed at promoting economic stability and deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria. He stated that the Government would support mobile banking efforts, and lay the framework to permit mobile network operators to deepen its penetration.

The Governor of Central Bank, Mr. Godwin Emiefiele (CON), in his address delivered by Director, Development Financing, CBN, Mr. Mudashiru Olaitan, explained that initiatives like the Bank Verification Number scheme and others have addressed issues connected to identification in the banking system. ‘‘As we progress in our financial inclusion effort, the need to develop the competences of relevant institutions must be pursued.

Some of the issues we need to address include low infrastructure in rural areas, low income, low saving culture, high unemployment and cultural & religious barriers.

Government has a critical role to play in order to promote inclusive financial execution. Government needs to provide an enabling environment to support the entire value chain within the financial sector to achieve its objectives.

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E-Financial

Spray Naira, Go to Jail- CBN

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued warning against spraying, selling and mutilation of naira notes, a criminal offence, which the bank said attracts five years’ imprisonment.

 

Expressing worry over the act, which it said is becoming common practice among Nigerians, the apex bank said anyone caught would henceforth be made to face the full wrath of the law.

 

It assured marketers, merchants, shopping malls and supermarkets of the bank’s continuous injection of huge volumes of banknotes into the circulation.

 

The development, according to Mrs. Priscilla Eleje, acting director, Currency Operations Department, CBN, was to preserve the pride of the country and ease difficulties being encountered by the traders and customers occasioned by the inadequate circulation of the lower denomination banknotes like N200, N100, N50, N20, N10 and N5.

 

Mrs. Eleje, who was represented at the public sensitsation and enlightenment campaign at Alesinloye market by Mrs. Olufolake Ogundero, deputy director of the bank, added that the bank recognises the important role markets play in economic transaction, hence the need for ease accessibility of the lower denominations to carry out economic transactions.

 

She said: “It is a criminal offence punishable by six months’ imprisonment or a fine of N50,000 or both to sell, spray or mutilate the banknotes. It is also a criminal offence which attracts five years’ imprisonment without an option of fine for anybody to counterfeit the naira. Naira is our pride as a country. So, respect it.”

 

Mrs. Labake Lawal, leader of the market women, assured the CBN of the cooperation of her members, stressing that “we will comply strictly with the agreed guidelines and utilise the banknotes for the intended purpose”.

 

 

 

 

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Customers Experience Banking Fraud, Worry About Online Security Measures- Poll

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Researchers of analytics software firm FICO found that majority of Internet users are annoyed with web and phone security measures. Out of 2,000 polled adults, 81% don’t see the need for what they call unnecessary security procedures.

 

64% of the respondents are not happy about the need for elaborate passwords featuring a mix of numbers, symbols and capital letters, and 71% would rather not deal with captcha codes, as they often have illegible words.

 

Overall, more than two-thirds of people (71%) think there are too many security measures nowadays, and 58% are irritated about having to remember email addresses to recover passwords. 78% said they struggle to keep track of all their passwords.

 

“It’s important to provide consumers with smooth, easy customer experience, but at the same time, people need to be educated that security measures are necessary,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN, a VPN service provider.

 

“Hacking, ransomware and phishing are on a historical rise all over the world. People need to use strong passwords and take precautions when going online. However, there are ways to make this easier – for example, by using a password manager.”

 

More than half of the respondents (55%) said they had been victims of banking fraud.

 

NordVPN offers easy online security tips to make it easier for consumers to deal with all the security measures while keeping them safe online.

 

  1. Use a password manager. Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account setup is using strong passwords and choosing different passwords for different accounts. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into an account. A strong password has a minimum of 12 characters and includes a strong mix of letters, numbers and characters. In order to easily track all your passwords, it’s recommended to use a password manager, such as truekey.com, LastPass and 1Password.

 

  1. Don’t forget to install the latest security updates. Security updates often contain patches for recent vulnerabilities, which hackers are looking to exploit. It takes just a few minutes, and the update lasts more than a month.

 

  1. Don’t open anything suspicious you get through email. Delete dubious emails from your bank, ISP, credit card company, etc. Never click on any links or attachments in emails you’re not expecting. Never give your personal details if asked via email.

 

  1. Back up all data. Back up your data on an alternate device and keep it unplugged and stored away. Backing up data regularly is the best way to protect yourself from ransomware because only unique information is valuable. It’s an easy and fast process with a long term impact.

 

  1. Use a VPN for additional safety. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware that targets online access points. That’s especially relevant when using a public hotspot. However, keep in mind that a VPN cannot protect you from downloading malware. While a VPN encrypts your activity online, you should be careful when downloading and opening certain files or links.

 

  1. Close pop-up windows safely. Ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that warn you of some kind of malware. Don’t click on the window – instead, close it with a keyboard command or by clicking on your taskbar.

 

  1. Use anti-virus programs. Make sure you have installed one of the latest reputable anti-virus programs to make sure you are fully protected.

 

 

 

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AfDB, AfreximBank Sign Strategic Factoring Project to Support African SMEs

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The African Development Bank, through its Trade Finance operations, and Afreximbank yesterday signed a Grant Agreement to support the development of factoring (a form of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable (invoices) to a third party (called a factor) at a discount) on the continent.

This is a big step towards both institutions’ unrelenting drive and commitment to continue enabling extra and intra-Africa Trade.

The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) hosted by the African Development Bank will invest US$500,000 towards the total deal size of US$950,000.

This investment is intended to finance the capacity building of a number of identified emerging factoring firms, advisory support among established factoring firms and development of a sustainable knowledge and learning platform to support factoring on the African continent. Afreximbank will contribute US$450,000 towards the technical assistance project.

Representing the African Development Bank, Senior Director in charge of the Nigerian Country Department, Ebrima FAAL emphasized the need for DFIs like to continue playing their role as enablers in enhancing Africa’s ability to financially support its SMEs to meet the demands of regional and global importers/exporters that trade on open account terms.

“Given the multisectoral impact of factoring in supporting businesses within agriculture, manufacturing, telecoms, power generation, partnering with AfreximBank is consistent with our strategic focus as represented under the High 5s namely: Integrate Africa, Feed Africa, Light Up Africa, Industrialize Africa and Improve the standard of living of the people of Africa,” FAAL said.

Abuja holds a special place in the history of Afreximbank as this is where, together with other African governments and key private sector institutions, the Bank helped lay the foundation for the establishment of this institution in 1993.

Mandated to stimulate consistent expansion, diversification and development of African trade, Afreximbank continues to be a significant partner to the Bank in its endeavor to deliver on its commitment to improve the living standards of African people through strategic and impactful trade finance instruments like factoring.

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