BY AZA MSUE, Kaduna
Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday, disclosed that Kaduna has the highest rate of financial inclusion in the Northwest zone.
The governor said the state government seeks to expand financial inclusion as an accelerator of economic growth.
Speaking at the presentation of findings of the EFInA survey of financial inclusion in Kaduna State, El-Rufai noted that the survey highlighted significant market opportunity for financial service providers to address the financial needs of adults in Kaduna.
El-Rufai, who was represented by the deputy governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said Kaduna State government’s policy encourages opportunities to bring financial inclusion to the 55 per cent of adults that are currently excluded.
The governor said the survey found that 62 per cent of adults in Kaduna State do not use any regulated financial services and most of them are women, people in rural areas, farmers and micro entrepreneurs.
El-Rufai who said that the government seeks to reverse these figures, highlighted the policy steps being taken to expand financial inclusion, which included a roadmap and blueprint for the adoption of a state-wide digital payment infrastructure, with the support of the Bill Gates Foundation.
He said Kaduna State is also partnering with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to improve financial access points in all the 23 local government areas.
El-Rufai explained further that his administration appreciates the strong impact that access to telecommunications services has on financial inclusion, adding that ‘’KDSG is working in partnership with IHS Towers to improve and provide mobile network (voice and data) in 42 blind spots across the state.’’
The governor disclosed that ‘’about half of the installations in this project are already done, and the rest are scheduled for completion by the end of September 2021.’’
‘’This adoption of technology extends to official payments and the registration of residents. Aside from digitising payments, Kaduna State is digitising identity, capturing the biometric details of over the 3.5m residents in the database of the Kaduna State Residents Registration Agency (KADRRA).
‘’The goal is for KADRRA to reach nine million residents, about 90% enrollment of residents by December 2022,’’ the governor said.
In his remarks, chief executive of EFInA, Ashley Immanuel, said that Kaduna State Deep Dive Survey was the first time that EFInA has conducted such detailed financial inclusion research at the state level. “Among the survey findings are that only 1% of adults in Kaduna State are insured, but 0.7 million uninsured adults say they would be interested in microinsurance. While only 33% of adults in Kaduna State are banked, 2 million unbanked adults in the state own mobile phones and could be reached with mobile money,’’ he said.