The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has stated that for the financial inclusion drive of the bank to make any appreciable impact, there must be a unique identification numbers that will make verification of the identity of individuals who intend to open bank account easy and avoid duplicity.
Emefiele disclosed this on Saturday at the ongoing 2019 Bankers Committee Retreat In Ogun State.
This, according to him, “enhances the comfort level of financial institutions in providing services to verifiable entities through digital channels.
“Even when they possess mobile devices, individuals in rural communities may be unable to provide unique identification numbers that are required to open accounts and e- wallets. In addition, the cost of enrolling individuals in rural communities has often undermined access to financial services for rural dwellers”.
Because cash payment still remains the dominant form of payments in rural communities with limited uptake of digital tools, the CBN Governor said building bank branches in rural communities often comes at a high cost relative to the income generated from such branches may suffice in this regard.
Speaking further, Emefiele said a development of robust digital tools that enable safe and secure financial transactions at a lower cost, are required in order to enhance the gains from the use of digital finance tools.
“Such tools should improve the speed and reliability of financial transactions conducted through digital channels. It should also provide for a robust cyber secure system that prevents theft, phishing, money laundering and other forms of financial crimes. Such systems should also be accompanied by a strong dispute resolution framework.
“These measures are needed in order to increase the confidence of underserved Nigerians in conducting digital financial transactions. It is in light of these factors that the CBN has implemented several initiatives which will ultimately support improved access to finance and credit through digital channels”, he added.
Some of these initiatives include issuance of the regulatory framework for Agent Banking and Agent Banking Relationships in Nigeria. This framework, which was issued in 2013, was the bank’s signal to the industry of its commitment towards simplifying banking services for financial inclusion.
“The framework was aimed at providing minimum standards and requirements for agent banking as a delivery channel for offering banking services in a cost effective manner. The overall objective was promoting financial inclusion. Agents were permitted to conduct cash deposits and withdrawals, bill payments, funds transfer services, mini statements provisioning, cash disbursements, 20 mobile agent services, collection of loan repayments and a lot of other services”, Emefiele said.
The bank, he said, also introduced a license category for Super Agents in 2016 in the payments ecosystem. The super-agents were expected to complement the efforts of the Mobile Money Operators and banks, by hiring and managing sub-agents and also extending financial services to the unbanked at a minimal cost. The Super-Agents are expected to be effective at extending the reach to locations where bank branches may not be available.