Expert advocates financial inclusion to tackle poverty, insecurity, others
Financial expert, Prof Raphael Igbinosa Adeghe, of the Department of Banking and Finance, on Thursday, said financial inclusion remains a potent tool to tackle rising poverty, insecurity, and other socio-economic challenges in the country.
Adeghe, who listed insecurity as a major factor responsible for financial exclusion in Nigeria, thereby impacting the local economy, and breeding poverty and diminishing quality of life, said the booming roadside businesses on many highways in the country have vanished as a result of insecurity.
“All the cars that used to park on the sides of the roads to buy snail, bush meat, yam, plantain, etc, have all stopped doing so. As a result, the roadside sellers have been financially-excluded in Nigeria.
“Movement by roads in the past used to be pleasurable, but not these days, insecurity widens financial exclusion. Many members of staff of microfinance banks are afraid to go to the rural areas for deposit mobilisation.” Adeghe said.
Adeghe, who delivered the 17th inaugural lecture of Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO), on the topic, “Financial Inclusion and Sustainable Development,” said financial inclusion has the capacity to lift citizens out of poverty, improve their quality of life, and enhance their ability to contribute meaningfully to national development.
He added that another factor inhibiting financial inclusion in the country is the lack of financial literacy and the inability to cultivate banking habits by the citizenry.
Adeghe recommended that to achieve financial inclusion conscious effort should be made to promote financial literacy, adding that priority must be given to education to train and re-train the citizenry to acquire financial literacy and banking habit.
He said the terms and conditions for assessing finance have compounded the situation of the economically-active poor people, who find it extremely difficult to meet stringent terms and conditions attached.
He identified regulatory challenges and high transaction costs as factors inhibiting financial services in Nigeria, saying high operating cost limits the ability of microfinance institutions to reach a large number of customers with a variety of financial services.
Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Prof Lawrence Ezemonye, described the topic of the inaugural lecture as apt, adding that financial inclusion is a mandatory requirement for the nation’s growth and development.
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