Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies involved in the implementation of the Financial System Strategy (FSS2020) plan will come up with a roadmap for achieving the 80 percent target of the financial inclusion in the next three years.
The CBN had in 2007 launched the FSS2020 aimed at calibrating the financial system as a means of ensuring economic growth and development, with the view of growing the Nigerian economy to become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.
“It must be stated that Nigeria has made significant progress since 2007 in actively reforming its financial system. Despite the global economic meltdown in 2008 FSS2020 Transformation Programs and initiatives provided the platform for fundamental changes in the country’s economic and financial landscape,” Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN, said Thursday in Lagos at the end of a two-day event to mark the anniversary of FSS2020.
According to Emefiele, under financial market, Pension, MSME, Insurance and Mortgage sectors, FSS2020 has introduced some far-reaching initiatives that have helped to deepen the economy.
The CBN governor said the population of Nigeria at 180 million was growing at annual rate of 3 percent and that by 2020 target year it would rise to over 200 million people.
“What can we do to see that over 200 million people benefit from our various interventions and financial institutions programmes,” he queried.
He told the participants made up of various agencies that they had not provided for the people, and that was why Nigerians were migrating to Libya, and urged them to work together to make life better for the people thereby helping to grow the economy.
A number of Bills have been initiated by FSS2020 to strengthen and deepen the financial system, including the financial ombudsman bill for consumer empowerment, he said. In this context, he said FSS2020 would be resubmitting to the National Assembly a Bill for establishment of specific financial consumer ombudsman to address the challenges of protection of consumers of financial services as well as the protection of the integrity of the financial system.
He commended Suleiman Barau, coordinator of the FSS2020 project office and CBN deputy governor in charge of Corporate Services Directorate, whose tenure as ends later this month, for his excellent work done in the last 10 years.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, Barau said, “We have done well. Strategy development or reform document development is not a problem; it is keeping it alive. For us to be alive after 10 years is the first measure of assessment. In the context of things we have done in specifics, we are not where we want to be and that is the essence of this review so that we can see what we can do in three years that we have not done in the last 10 years. I think we have done moderately well.”
Continuing he said, “We are able to come together as members of the financial system to agree on the way forward. One of the things we must continue to do is to continue to work together so that the huge challenge we have on inclusiveness is achieved as quickly as possible, because we do not have time to wait.”