Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said that financial inclusion was an important factor for the growth of the nation’s economy. He also noted that the Buhari administration was committed to ensuring that all Nigerians have access to financial services and credit facilities, no matter where they are.

The Vice President said this on Wednesday when a delegation, led by Her Majesty, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, in her capacity as the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Prof. Osinbajo further said that Nigeria will continue to do more in the area of financial inclusion and ensure more Nigerians get access to credit facilities, loans.

He said, “Financial inclusion is not an option for us, it is absolutely important for us and our economy. The convergence we are having in the Social Investment Programmes of this administration, as well as in agriculture, with smallholder farmers, is an indication of our commitment. In the past two years, we have been working hard to ensure that more Nigerians are financially inclusive. We are looking at engaging 500,000 unemployed graduates; we are also looking at getting the private sector more involved. We want to achieve more.

We need to be able to ensure that all of our people no matter where they live, no matter how far away they are, can be reached with financial products, have bank accounts; payment can be made to them, they also can make payments. In other words, they can participate in the entire financial architecture that the country and international community offer. That is really important for development, and for their development as individuals and communities.”

In her remarks, Queen Maxima stated that she was extremely pleased to be visiting Nigeria for the second time in five years. She also said she was glad that since 2008, Nigeria has made great progress, going from 23 per cent to 48 per cent of financial inclusion, but urged Nigeria to renew its commitment and leadership in financial inclusion.

She also praised the Buhari administration’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP), noting that financial inclusion was a key element to support the economic plan.

“Nigeria is a country of enormous potential where financial inclusion should be playing a great role for your development. Having access to savings, insurance, payments, credits can really move people out of poverty. We have three years to get to a target of 80 per cent of financial inclusion in Nigeria, and it will need a realistic strategy with a concrete action plan with real priorities being set up,” she said

Queen Maxima’s delegation included the Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Petri; the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon; as well as partners from the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Others at the meeting were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Jumai Alhassan; Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung; and the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
1st November, 2017