Financial Inclusion Strategy and Economic Growth in Nigeria: A Short-run Empirical Analysis
Callistar Kidochukwu, OBI
Department of Economics, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
Callistar Kidochukwu OBI
Abstract: It has been observed that most adult citizens, globally, are not enjoying financial services. They are financially excluded, especially rural dwellers. Monetary authorities initiated financial inclusion, with the aim of including all adult population who are excluded from financial services into the financial system at an affordable cost to meet their basic needs. Studies have shown that it encourages household savings and affects growth positively. Central Bank of Nigeria initiated financial inclusion in 2012 and commenced implementation in 2014. Given the short period of its implementation, this study ascertained the effect on economic growth in Nigeria. The study used time series data ranging from 2004 to 2021. The study covered the pre-inclusion period, through its implementation period. Ordinary Least Square technique was adopted for data estimation. Preliminary and post-estimation tests were also conducted. Despite the short period of the implementation of financial inclusion strategy, the OLS result affirmed that it positively affects economic growth. It was concluded that financial inclusion is a growth driver. It was recommended that Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with commercial banks and microfinance banks, continue to enforce inclusion exercise in all rural communities, ensuring that women, youths, farmers, traders in the informal sector, are captured by the financial system. Also, Central Bank Nigeria should set up financial inclusion compliance committee at the Local Government levels, with a State Monitoring unit to ensure compliance.