R-L: Senior Management Staff of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Prisca Ndu, who represented Mr. Ahmed Kuru, MD/CEO, Mr. Femi Awoyemi, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Proshare Nigeria and Obinna Chima, Money Market Correspondent with Thisday at the Financial Journalists’ and Banks’ Communications Managers Parley organised by Center for Financial Journalists in Lagos at the weekend
Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in a paper presented at Centre For Financial Journalism (CFJ Nigeria) Financial Journalists’ and Banks’ Communications Managers’ Parley today, Lagoswww.zenithbank.com
The managing director who was represented at the event by Prisca Ndu, a Senior Management Staff of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria said for us at AMCON, we believe that forums like this should be encouraged and supported because our country needs all the financial wisdom in the world to enable us steer the economy of Nigeria to the very top where it belongs. We are also convinced that there is no better vehicle to deliver this message to the doorstep of every Nigerian that the media, which is the fourth estate of the realm; mirror of the society and the voice of the voiceless, he added.
Kuru said for the purpose of this gathering and our understanding of Financial Inclusion on the interpretation of the World Bank Group inline with this year’s theme: “Deepening Financial Inclusion: Role of Financial Journalists and Banks’ Communications Managers,” the global body, Financial Inclusion means the ability of individuals and businesses to have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs during transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance that are delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
In his word: “As financial journalists and communications managers in banks, we know that access to a transaction account is a first step toward broader financial inclusion since it allows people to store money, and send and receive payments. A transaction account can also serve as a gateway to other financial services, which is why ensuring that people worldwide can have access to a transaction account is the focus of the World Bank Group’s Universal Financial Access 2020 initiative.”
“This is because financial access facilitates day-to-day living, and helps families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies. As account holders, people are more likely to use other financial services, such as credit and insurance, to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risk, and weather financial shocks, which can improve the overall quality of their lives.
Here in Nigeria, Kuru said that we are all aware that the leadership of the CBN, the Bankers Committee and your good selves – (the media) have been working very hard to drive home the message for Financial Inclusion. I am aware that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria have all sorts of programmes that enable them reach the unbanked across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. From available data from the WBG, there is need for all stakeholders to double their efforts because millions of people in Nigeria are still financially excluded and across the world the figure is in billions.
According to managing director, though we can actually say that there has been progress toward financial inclusion, Nigeria and the world still grapple with significant challenge:
An estimated 2 billion adults worldwide do not have a basic bank account, globally, 59 per cent of adults without an account cite a lack of enough money as a key reason, which implies that financial services are not yet affordable or designed to fit low income users. Other barriers to account-opening include distance from a financial service provider, lack of necessary documentation papers, lack of trust in financial service providers, and religion, More than 200 million formal and informal micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in emerging economies (such as Nigeria) lack adequate financing to thrive and grow.
He further pointed out that the MSMEs cite a lack of collateral and credit history, and business informality as main reasons for not having an account and some groups are more financially excluded than others: for instances, Women, rural poor, and other remote or hard-to-reach populations, as well as informal micro and small firms are most affected.
AMCON Boss said from the highlight above points to the very fact that Financial Inclusion has become a priority for policymakers, regulators and development agencies globally. If we must align with the rest of the world, it must also be a priority for us as Nigerians then Financial Journalists and Banks’ Communications Managers must lead the pack in creating the awareness for Financial Inclusion and sustaining same.
“Therefore media houses and media owners must as a matter of priority send their financial reporters on training and retraining programmes to equip them to do deliver on their jobs.
“On the other hand, Deposit Money Banks or those who serve them as Communications Managers must see, appreciate and work with Financial Journalists as partners in progress, which is why I commend the CFJ for this initiative because it creates the environment for both parties to rub minds on the way forward not just as it concerns Financial Inclusion but other areas of mutual interest.
“To deepen Financial Inclusion therefore, it is my submission that it is in the place of the Communications Managers and their creative agencies to continually come up with market penetration initiatives and programmes that would create the desired public awareness and interests regarding Financial Inclusion, while the Financial Journalist leverages the information emanating from the financial houses to engage the public on the benefits and why they need to key into the scheme.