Don advocates financial inclusion to tackle poverty, insecurity, others
A financial expert, Prof, Raphael Igbinosa Adeghe of the Department of Banking and Finance at Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO) has said that financial inclusion remains a potent tool to tackle the rising poverty, insecurity and other socio-economic challenges in the country.
Adeghe, who listed insecurity as a major factor responsible for financial exclusion in the country, which according to him affects the local economy and breeds poverty and diminishes the quality of life, said that the booming roadside businesses on many highways in the country had vanished as a result of insecurity.
“All the car owners that used to park by the side of the road to buy snail, bush meat, yam, plantain and so on 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 mobilization,” he said.
Adeghe, who spoke yesterday at the 17th inaugural lecture of Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO) with the topic,” Financial Inclusion and Sustainable Development,” said financial inclusion had the capacity of lifting citizens out of poverty, improving citizens’ quality of life and enhancing the citizens’ ability to contribute meaningfully to national development.
The don added that other factors inhibiting financial inclusion in the country were lack of financial literacy and inability to cultivate banking habits by the citizenry.
He, therefore, recommended that to achieve financial inclusion in the country, a conscious effort should be made to promote financial literacy and that priority must be given to education in order to train and re-train the citizenry to acquire financial literacy and banking habit.
He said the terms and conditions for assessing finance had compounded the situation of the economically-active poor people who find it extremely difficult to meet stringent terms and conditions attached to financial services.
He also identified regulatory challenges and high transaction costs as factors militating against financial services in the country, saying that high operating cost limits the ability of microfinance institutions to reach a large number of customers with a variety of financial services.
In his speech, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Lawrence Ezemonye, described the topic of the inaugural lecture as apt, saying that financial inclusion is a mandatory requirement for the nation’s growth and development.