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COVID-19 Pandemic: Expert urge pension players, others on innovation and creativity to achieve financial inclusion

Pension industry players and their counterparts in the insurance sector have been urged to use their expertise and the resources at their disposal to grow the economy in the pandemic era. This was made known at the 2021 NAIPCO National Conference, tagged ‘COVID-19 Impact on Financial Inclusion: Opportunities for Insurance and Pension Sectors’ in Lagos.

Folashade Onanuga, former Director-General of the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), urged operators to focus on creativity, innovation, and service delivery through information technology channels, emphasizing the need for financial inclusion among Nigerians.

According to Onanuga, the pandemic has caused significant disruptions while also providing possibilities for businesses to expand their client base.

“Economic shocks such as a sudden job loss, illness, or death can push those living just over the poverty line into poverty,” she said. So, whether one works in the formal or informal economy, a safety net is necessary. The pandemic’s abrupt and unexpected misfortune has highlighted the necessity to plan for unforeseen eventualities, including early retirement.”

She stated that in order to take advantage of the new opportunities, the pension and insurance businesses must remain committed to the Nigerian economy’s inclusive growth, providing opportunities for lower-income groups to participate in the broader financial system.

“Financial inclusion is attained when both youths and adults in Nigeria have access to affordable financial goods and services that fit their needs,” she explained. Financial inclusion can only be realized if financial transaction processes and documentation are transparent, streamlined, and perceived as serving people’s needs while also benefiting the financial services industry.

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