Indeed, Nigeria contributes bulk to figures on financial exclusion in Africa despite priding itself as the most populous country on the continent and an economic giant by extension.
About one in every five adults and 38 per cent of households report having a formal bank account. This includes both commercial banks (34 per cent of households) and other financial institutions such as microfinance institutions (MFI), cooperative societies, and savings associations.
To ensure that more Nigerians have access to financial product, Access Bank Plc recently, flagged off the 12th season of its DiamondXtra promo as part of its continuous drive to encourage savings culture and reward its loyal customers.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank, Victor Etuokwu, said the bank has made the new season of the initiative with new segments to the scheme.
Etuokwu said, “This year will be wonderful for our access bank customers especially the ones who have a diamondxtra savings account.
“This season we are introducing several good stuffs over last season. We will have over 63 winners for rent for a year category, three people winning salary for life and we will introduce a free health insurance scheme that will cover the customer, spouse or husband and three children.
We will have the same number of people winning N1 million as regards cash prizes like we had today. We also have a lot of loyalty schemes, we will introduce nine winners (women) who will be winning N300,000 each and we will be doing draws every month for the rest of this year and one of them will win a shopping allowance of N100,000.
This year, we are introducing senior citizens, about nine of them will be winning N500,000 each and one of them will get a N100,000 a month”.
According to him, “We are looking at bringing in up to 100 million accounts between now and 2022 as we are currently at 41 million accounts and so we are targeting Nigerians as we want every household in Nigeria to have a Diamondxtra account”.
He pointed out that financial inclusion is about inclusive growth, adding that there is need to ensure that every Nigeria is included to achieve an all-inclusive prosperity.
“There is a report that Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world, which is not a good report for any country. It is because we have a lot of people that are living below poverty line. It is also because this people are not included in the economic activities of the country.
“How do you break that psyche? First of all, you begin to operate in the financial system. All the benefits that we discussed today from diamond extra means nothing to anybody who does not have an account”, he added.