Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received visiting Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa where issues bordering on financial inclusion were discussed.
Queen Maxima, who is the Secretary-General, Special Advocates for Inclusive Finance for Development, was accompanied on the visit by the Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, and the United Nations Country Representatives, Edward, among others.
Speaking during a press conference held after the meeting, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said there was need to ensure that “all of our people wherever they live, no matter how far away they are can be reached with financial products, have bank accounts and payments can be made to them.”
Professor Osinbajo said financial inclusion would enable Nigerians to participate in the financial architecture that the Nigeria and the international community offer.
“That really is important for development; it’s important for their development as individuals and as communities. That’s the sum and substance of why Her Majesty has been here talking to us about,” the vice president said.
In her remarks, Her Majesty, Queen Maxima, said she was in Nigeria to advocate for a revision of the financial inclusion strategy and for the deployment of mobile money in Nigeria.
She urged Nigerians “to look forward to how we can actually deploy these services where they are sustainable, they are responsible and they are safe for all Nigerians.”
The Queen said that Nigeria has enormous potentials that require financial inclusion to harness.
She said: “Many Nigerians have actually achieved this, having a payment system in which everybody from government payments and safety programmes can be channeled into it. Credit can be channeled into it. Savings can be captured from it. Insurance can be organized through it. It could be of great importance for Nigeria.”
Targets 80% inclusion
Queen Maxima, who first visited Nigeria five years ago, said her organization targets 80% financial inclusion in Nigeria in the next three years and called for the support of Vice President Osinbajo to achieve it.
She said: “Mr. Vice President, I think a revised financial inclusion strategy and its implementation will need your commitment and will need your leadership. We have three years to get to our target of 80% of financial inclusion in Nigeria and it will need a realistic strategy with a very concrete action plan with real priorities being set up.
And it will need a strong collaboration and cooperation among different ministries, among the central bank and regulators of the communications industry for it to be achievable.”
She stated that Nigeria’s financial inclusion at the moment was 2%, which is far below what other countries have achieved.
The Queen called for stronger connectivity and support of information and communication companies as well as the regulator to key into the drive to achieve higher rate in financial inclusion.
She stated that many Nigerians, including women, the youth, farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises would benefit from the enhanced financial inclusion in Nigeria and also pledged the support of her organization to help Nigeria achieve it.
– Omolayo.A I VON