Fola Daniel, Commissioenr for Insurance
Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), an organisation promoting financial inclusion in the country, has affirmed that only 2.25 million Nigerians currently have access to the various products and services offered by insurance companies in the country.
The organisation said this was part of the outcome of its Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2012 survey, which was unveiled during its Innovation Forum titled ‘From Data to Action: Making Financial Inclusion Real in Nigeria’ in Lagos recently.
The survey, according to the organisation, was to measure 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 the country.
EFInA defined 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.”
It said an inclusive financial sector is characterised by the diversity of financial services products and providers and the level of competition among operators as well as the legal and regulatory environment that ensures the integrity of the sector and access to services.
The firm also observed that the absence of relevant and reliable data and analysis about how individuals and households manage their finances was identified in its research as one of the biggest challenges in accessing financial services in the country.
Unveiling the results from the EFInA 2012 survey, the Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Ms. Modupe Ladipo, said “Only 37.8 million Nigerians, representing 43.0 per cent of the adult population have access to and or use formal financial services; while 34.9 million Nigerians, representing 39.7 per cent of the adult population, are financially excluded.
“The good news is that between 2008 and 2012, the number of adults that are financially excluded decreased by 10.5 million,” she added.
The biennial EFInA survey is said to have consistently provided credible market information on the finance sector, by highlighting regulatory and market obstacles to growth and innovation in the financial sector, identifying the financial needs of the adult population. It also gives service providers the opportunity to develop innovative products to enable them serve the low income population in Nigeria since 2008.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel, delivered a keynote address during the ceremony while the Business Development Manager for Africa of MicroEnsure, Mr. Peter Gross, was the international Guest Speaker.
Daniel said the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) was fully committed to driving financial inclusion through the development of Takaful (non-interest ethical insurance) and micro-insurance for the excluded and low income Nigerians.
“NAICOM has also put in place a strategic roadmap to reposition the insurance sector to effectively serve the low income segment in Nigeria,” he added.