As part of its mission to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) said that it has injected over $17 million in grants to help advance the cause of financial inclusion and promote financial literary in the country.
Speaking at a media forum organised by EFInA, chairman of its board, Mr Segun Akerele, said the Non-Governmental Organisation has spent between $17 million and $18 million, given out as grants, conducted surveys and sponsored programmes targeted at promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Noting that about 41 million Nigerians are still financially excluded with the bulk of it coming from the North West, north east and north central, he said “one of our focus area is the north so we are going to target quite a lot of our effort at the north. There will also be a focus on women as there is a huge gender gap when it comes to financial inclusion.”
Akerele said EFInA had organised the media forum to try and find out how it could engage with the media and other strategic partners to drive financial inclusion. “We are aware that financial inclusion is very important in Nigeria today we have 41 million people that are excluded we have a target of 12 percent exclusion by 2020 but it is important that we get all the stakeholder involved in driving this message.”
Also speaking the Grant Manager of EFInA, Suzanne Adeoye, while affirming the amount expended by EFInA on increasing financial inclusion in the country said over $17 million has been spent on grants to promote the development and implementation of products and services targeting the unbanned and under thanked population.
“The grants are of two types under innovation funds, technical assistance grants and innovation grants with up to $250,000 to $2 million.” She further revealed that “EFInA awarded a technical Assistance grant of $250,000 to e-Transact International PLC to build a mobile payment ecosystem called Pocketmoni. Diamond bank was also awarded $1.5 million innovation grants in 2015 to scale up the BETA 2.0 product likewise Hasal microfinance bank and lotus capital was granted $500,000 and $250,000 to help enhance financial inclusion.”
Identifying challenges of growing the level of financial inclusion in the country, Adeoye said “irregular income, lack of employment and long distance to financial access points as the barriers to ensuring financial inclusion and only available products and services targeted at low income earners will help boost financial inclusion.”
she added that no organization can drive financial inclusion alone so EFINA will be working with the media to increase financial services awareness and literacy to the un(der)banked she therefore encouraged private sectors as well as journalist to help harness technology and dissemination of credible information.”
Speaking during the panel discussion, founder of Money matters with Nimi, Nimi Akinkugbe, who tasked the media on the three core purpose of the media inform, influence and entertain. She explained that an improved financial Awareness & financial Literacy effort from the media could result in more discerning choice of investment and other, financial products by consumers which would make financial institutions respond innovatively to consumer demand, leading to a more efficient financial system. She also advised the media to simplify financial reporting in order to educate the masses.
She added that, “we are in a materialistic society and the media being the most powerful sector of an economy must help to reshape societal values. She called on bank and their staffs to improve their attitudes to customer care and protection in order to drive financial inclusion.”
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