Emefiele calls for improved access to finance for unbanked

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The Bankers Committee, an umbrella of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the managing directors of banks has been charged to work towards removing constraints to access to finance for the unbanked.

At a retreat for strategic review of critical developments in the financial system, in particular and the economy, in general by the committee on Saturday, the CBN governor noted that the Bankers Committee retreat is rightfully focusing on strategies to address current constraints in improving access to finance for the unbanked.

Improving access to finance for millions of Nigerians who do not have access to financial services, he added, can serve as a catalyst for sustained growth and creation of jobs in our economy.

Numerous studies have shown the multiplier effect improved access to finance could have on Nigeria’s growth and development.

The governor recalled that a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute argued that improved access to financial services could lead to a boost of the country’s current GDP by 12.4 per cent ($88 billion) and the creation of new deposits worth $36 billion by 2025.

He specifically charged the committee to provide actionable steps that will be taken in order to ensure that they make meaningful contributions to Nigeria’s growth and development.

“I look forward to a robust discourse and far-reaching outcomes that will actualize our collective intent of ensuring the financial sector plays a key role toward facilitating and sustaining economic growth in Nigeria,” Emefiele said.

The focus on improving access to finance is timely given the sustained external headwinds that the Nigerian economy in the aftermath of the drop in crude oil prices, which began in the third quarter of 2014 he stated.

The outcome of these headwinds includes heightened inflation; drop in external reserves; and significant depreciation in the Naira-Dollar exchange rate, and depressed Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

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