The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Deposit Money Banks (DMB), and licensed Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and Super Agents have reached an agreement to fund an initiative-Shared Agent Network Expansion (SANE).
The move, aimed at deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria, entails an aggressive rollout of 500,000 agent network that would offer basic financial services like cash-in, cash-out, funds transfer, bill payments, airtime purchase and government disbursements.
It also involves remote enrollment on Bank Verification Number (BVN) to an estimated 50 million Nigerians that are currently under-banked or unbanked.
According to the plan, the CBN and deposit money banks will over the next few months, roll out new initiatives, products and services to accelerate and deepen financial inclusion in the country.
Their goal is to reach the expectations of the Nigerian banks to onboard and formally bank 60 million additional Nigerians over the next three years on an average of 20 million yearly, as well as enrol 40 million for BVN.
To this effect, the renewed focus will be given to driving low-cost digital access, broadening financial literacy campaigns, and creating micro insurance and micro investment products for the benefit of excluded, underserved and low-income Nigerians.
Commenting on the programme, Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, who also doubles as the Chairman, Body of Bank CEOs, stressed that the agreement reflects commitments to aggressively pursue the CBN’s 2020 financial inclusion target in an integrated way with minimal systemic risks to the financial system.
He also noted that the initiative will generate over 500,000 new jobs for Nigerians over the next two years.
Speaking for the mobile money operators, the Founder/CEO, Paga, Tayo Oviosu, maintained that to significantly raise the financial inclusion level in Nigeria, we need to offer truly effective digital financial services that operate on all mobile telecom networks and a robust nationwide network of agents for convenient access.
“The SANE programme supports our plans to rapidly scale up the agent network over the year and with this, the entire financial industry will reach deeper into even more communities and give millions of Nigerians convenient access to financial services,” Oviosu said.
With this, the licensed MMOSA are expected to immediately deploy financial services agents’ outlets in underserved urban and rural areas in Nigeria, with higher priority in the northern geo-political zones where financial exclusion is most predominant.