Assessing the Effect of Policy on Financial Inclusion in Nigeria
Financial inclusion (FI) in Nigeria is growing but still lags far behind the principal target set in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, 2012 of the Central Bank of Nigeria: decreasing financial exclusion to 20.0% by the year 2020 from 46.3% in 2010. Of the 60.3% of adults who are financially served, a substantial portion have a very limited portfolio of options—while many financial institutions may offer products to capture deposits, few offer credit products.
The Government of Nigeria, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria has put in place a variety of policies to spur greater financial inclusion. This report from Dalberg and EFInA presents research into how those policies have been received by various stakeholders, providing a window into the degree to which stakeholders believe the policies have thus far supported financial inclusion and—most importantly—how stakeholders believe the polices can be improved going forward.
FINDINGS ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF POLICIES TO FINANCIAL INCLUSION
Despite persistent questions, FI policies are strongly needed as they allow the Central Bank to regulate an industry that has witnessed significant hurdles over the last few decades and still suffers from public mistrust.
Obviously, not all interviewees were equally satisfied by each policy. As we will see in detail in the sections of the report where we break down responses by type of stakeholder, differences were partially driven by diverging interests. That said, the policies explored in this research have created an enabling environment that is more conducive to financial inclusion and many financial institutions have developed new offerings and/or have been able to grow the volumes of their products targeted at the unbanked and under-banked.
Our research suggests that most stakeholders perceive the Central Bank of Nigeria as responsive and collaborative in policy development, although microfinance banks feel less heard than deposit money banks. However, the large number of FI policies and revisions makes it difficult for stakeholders to stay on top of current policy and fully digest regulatory changes.