Poverty: NGO tasks Nigerians on saving culture

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By Maureen Okon/Funmilayo Adeyemi

Care International, Nigeria, an NGO has urged the Federal Government to establish a policy framework that will encourage people, especially women, to embrace a saving culture.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, at the 2024 National Savings Group Conference, with the theme, “Accelerating Financial and Economic Inclusion: The Pivotal Role of Savings Group in Nigeria”, the Country Director of the NGO, Dr Hussaini Abdul, said doing so would reduce poverty, especially in rural communities.

Abdul underscored the need to strengthen the process of the saving groups to encourage more participation from all parts of the country.

“For anyone who knows the political economy of this country, poverty is deeply entrenched in the country and it is even more entrenched in the rural areas.

“One of the drivers of poverty in the rural areas is the lack of basic social services. Among these services are financial services.

“But we also know that in the rural communities, people have reacted to those conditions by creating certain cultures that support their financial needs whether you call it “esusu”, “ajo” or “adashi”.

“Over the years, international organisations and local groups have learned to support those mechanisms through a stronger system that allows for better coordination, management, and accountability.

“So we think that it is important for government at all levels to pick a significant interest in what is going on, develop a better policy framework that supports the process of the institutionalisation of this mechanism,” he said.

According to him, the conference will provide a harmonised atmosphere for engagement and collaboration on the pivotal role of savings groups in driving financial inclusion in the country.

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Dr Nurudeen Zauro, Technical Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Financial Inclusion, who represented Vice President Kashim Shettima, pledged to review the policy framework to make the environment conducive for savings groups.

“At the moment, about 26 per cent of Nigerians are financially excluded and again we have about 36 per cent of Nigerians that are currently unbanked meaning that the inclusion constitutes about 10 per cent of that from the informal sector.

“Based on the records, we also have a large chunk of Nigerians as multidimensionally poor, and security challenge is associated with this.

“President Bola Tinubu understands this problem and the renewed hope agenda attached important role of financial inclusion,” he said .

NAN reports that Plan International, ActionAid, Mercy Corps, USAID, GIZ, The World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations are some of the implementing partners in the scheme. (NAN) (www.nan.ng)

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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