The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated its commitment to reducing the number of Nigerians without bank accounts to the barest minimum by the year 2020.
It said the move was in line with the 2011 Maya (Mexico) resolution of the group of 20 developing countries.
The Deputy Director, Consumer Protection Department of the CBN, Hajia Khadijab Kassim, disclosed this in Port Harcourt at the financial literacy sensitisation and awareness workshop organised by the central bank.
According to Kassim, in 2011, leaders of leading financial institutions in 20 developing countries of the world met in Maya, Mexico and agreed to reduce the number of their citizens without their own bank accounts.
“The CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was one of the signatories. So, we promised that in the next seven years, out of 10 people you see anywhere in Nigeria, at least eight of them will have bank accounts, and we are working towards that,” she added.
Kassim disclosed that in order to ensure the success of the plan, the CBN had developed a national financial inclusion strategy aimed at educating Nigerians on how to understand and benefit from the country’s financial system.
She disclosed that more than 40 per cent of those who should be using banking services in the country were not in the financial system.
“May I inform you here that the CBN had prepared everything needed to protect your interests as you go to open accounts, but ensure not to patronise ‘wonder banks’ and other fraud outlets,” she declared.
Kassim said the CBN would work with non-governmental and faith-based organisations to sensitise people in the rural parts of the country to understand the benefits of the financial system.
She said: “The CBN is putting a lot of structure in place to ensure that consumers get maximum benefits from financial services providers, which would ultimately result in not only enabling people take charge of their financial well-being but also enhance economic development.
“It is, however, necessary that consumers are given reasons to trust the system and therefore be confident in dealing with financial services providers.”
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) in Rivers state, Onyema Okoro, informed the participants the workshop was meant to enlighten people in the commercial sector in the state about the benefits and rights available to consumers of banking services, as well as to inform them of the new opportunities available in the banking sector.