Only 1.3 million Nigerians, representing 1.5% of the total population of 160 million people, have insurance cover, while 34.9 million, representing 39.7% of the adult population, are financially excluded. These facts were revealed in a survey by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), which was released weekend.
According to EFInA’s 2012 Access to Financial Services in Nigeria survey, presented by Ms. Modupe Ladipo, Chief Executive Officer, EFInA, only 37.8 million Nigerians, representing 43% of the adult population have access to and use formal financial services.
“The good news is that between 2008 and 2012, the number of adults that are financially excluded decreased by 10.5 million,” Ms. Modupe Ladipo said.
The survey, presented at the Innovation Forum titled "From Data to Action: Making Financial Inclusion Real in Nigeria", in Lagos, was aimed at measuring the trends in access and usage of financial services in Nigeria from 2008 to 2012, and to establish credible benchmarks and indicators of financial penetration in Nigeria.
Ms. Modupe Ladipo described financial inclusion as the provision of a broad range of high quality financial products such as savings, credit, insurance, payments and pensions, which are relevant, appropriate and affordable for the entire adult population, especially the low income segment.
“An inclusive financial sector is characterised by the diversity of financial services products and providers, the level of competition between them, and the legal and regulatory environment that ensures the integrity of the financial sector and access to financial services for all,” she maintained.
In his address, titled, “Overview of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and the role of banks in promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said: “There has been some improvement in the move to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria; however we still have a lot of issues to cover, such as access to financial services and to the right financial product.
“In addition, consumer protection and financial literacy are critical issues that are paramount to making financial inclusion work.
“The Central Bank has therefore set a target to reduce the percentage of financially excluded adults to 20 per cent by 2020, as stated in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.”
Also speaking, Mr. Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, said, “The National Insurance Commission is fully committed to driving financial inclusion through the development of Takaful (non-interest ethical insurance) and microinsurance for the excluded and low income segment of our society. NAICOM has also put in place a strategic roadmap to reposition the insurance sector to effectively serve the low income segment in Nigeria.”
In his own view, Mr. Peter Gross, Business Development Manager for Africa, MicroEnsure, disclosed that the cost of delivery and operations of conventional insurance products helped put them out of reach of the mass market.
He added that understanding the barriers to the uptake of insurance will allow providers to deliver simplified microinsurance products through innovative channels such as mobile phones.
He said, “The opportunity for microinsurance in Nigeria is significant given that the survey shows that only 1.3 million adults has an insurance product.”