The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that about 76.8 per cent of rural dwellers in Nigeria do not patronise financial institutions, especially commercial and micro-finance banks in the country.
Managing Director of NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt during the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop organised by the corporation for operators in the micro-finance banking sub-sector.
Ibrahim stated that the development showed that there was a huge untapped potential for financial services at the micro level of the Nigerian economy, pointing out that attempts by authorities in the past to fill the financing gap were not successful.“With an estimated population of over 160 million people in Nigeria, 70 per cent of whom are involved in the informal sector, 76.8 per cent of the rural residents are unbanked. It goes without saying that there exists a huge untapped potential for financial servces at the micro level of the Nigerian economy. Attempts by the authorities in the past to fill this financing gap were not successful,” he said.
The NDIC boss assured Nigerians that the regulatory authorities of the country’s banking sub-sector, as responsible stakeholders would continue to encourage government agencies to provide non-commercial resources targeted at difficult-to-reach clients and the poorest of the poor.
Ibrahim stated that a Customer Protection Desk has been established in Special Insured Institutions Department (SIID) and all the zonal offices of the corporation to attend to and address consumer complaints from customers of microfinance banks in the country.
Presenting a paper entitled: “Imperatives of Wholesale Funds for Deepening the Microfinance Sub-sector,” the NDIC’s director of Research, Policy and International Relations, Dr Jide Afolabi, said that one of the critical challenges facing the microfinance sub-sector in Nigeria was the nonavailability of funds to enable them deliver on their expected responsibilities.
Afolabi stated that such responsibilities include providing financial services to economically-viable vulnerable members of the society at affordable prices.