The Central Bank of Nigeria has commenced the enrolment of about 25,000 unbanked women and youths in Gombe State.
The apex bank also said it was building on the account opening drive to ensure digital financial inclusion, in order to consolidate on efforts to implement the framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Speaking in the Deba Local Government Area, on Tuesday, Director, Development Finance Department, Yusuf Yika, said the drive would feature awareness creation on financial literacy as well as provide an opportunity for women and the youth in the community to take advantage of the financial products and services.
Recall that in December 2019, a pilot account opening drive was held with over 82,000 new accounts opened across six states: Bayelsa (South-South), Ebonyi (South-East), Gombe (North-East), Kano (North-West), Nasarawa (North-Central) and Ondo (South-West).
Represented by the branch manager, Gombe CBN, Shehu Goringo, Yika noted that the programme would be held across five Local Government Areas including, Biliri, Kaltungo, Yemaltu- Deba, Akko, and Dukku.
Yika said, “The financial inclusion drive is an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and other stakeholders to improve access of unbanked Nigerians to financial services and this year, we are kicking it off this November as part of the international Financial Inclusion Week celebrated globally.
“This means that throughout this week, financial services providers will be available to help unbanked women and youth make informed decisions about product uptake including savings accounts, micro pensions, micro insurance, BVN registration and NIN registration amongst others. There will also be opportunities to learn about investment opportunities and how to sustainably grow your finances.
“The tag line for the drive; ‘Open account, Get beta Life’ and the proposed target for number of impressions (women and youth engaged, products deployed to) is 25,000 in Gombe State.”
Sophia Abu, of the Financial Inclusion Delivery Unit of the CBN, stressed that the week was geared towards bringing financial operations closer to the people.
“We have brought them to their doorsteps, we brought them here to help these women open accounts, to register BVN for those who don’t have and to register for their National Identity Number because we know that it is one of the barriers to access finance especially for women and youth in access points,” she said
She noted that the week would highlight the importance of getting relevant details like the BVN, NIN, adding that with the inclusion of women and youth, they would be discouraged from dealing with illicit financial operators.
“Essentially, we are trying to build the savings culture because we want to ensure these people save in formal financial services that are regulated so that they don’t go through negative practices from money lenders and others.
“So, they are able to save in formally regulated institutions then it will be easy for them if there are opportunities by the federal government to access those opportunities because like we all know federal government sometimes hands out conditional cash transfers and even interventions. So, if you don’t have a BVN or bank account it will be difficult to access those opportunities,” Abu added.
Also speaking, Emir of Deba, Ahmed Usman, commended the CBN for assisting his people to be financially inclusive.