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The physically challenge persons constitute an integral part of Nigeria‟s population, as such any national economic programme that attempts in any way to foreclose this important segment of the country‟s population will leave much to be desired. The study made use of primary data which was collected using questionnaires administered to the respondents based on a census sampling technique. The data was collected from a total of 187 out of a population of 194 households of the minor settlements of the local government. Descriptive and inferential (parametric) statistics were used to analyse the data collected for the study using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Multiple regression tool of analysis was used to test the study‟s hypotheses. The findings revealed that Banks microfinance banks‟ branches target have a significant positive effect on bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons of the local government. On the other hand, the financial literacy target and savings target of the programme have insignificant positive effect on bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons of the study area (KudanLocal Government Area of Kaduna State). The study therefore recommended that the CBN should continue to pursue the implementation strategy of the microfinance banks‟ branches target in the physically challenge persons as it has begun. However, the study also recommended that the CBN should review the implementation approach of the financial literacy target and savings target among the physically challenge persons-taking into consideration the peculiarities of the country‟s physically challenge persons; in order to enhance bank account ownership and consequently, financial inclusion among the physically challenge persons in the area, and the country at large by the due date of the programme in 2020.
1.1 Background to the Study
The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) was promulgated in the last quarter of 2012. It is a general financial inclusion programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), whose strategic objective is to curb financial exclusion in the country by setting a clear agenda to significantly increase access to, and use of formal financial products and services from 36.3 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2020. To achieve this feat therefore, the programme set up certain targets to be strategically met in terms of financial literacy, savings, microfinance bank branches, payments, automated teller machine (ATMs), point of sale (POS), pensions, insurance and credit. These are to be pursued from 2012 to 2015 and subsequently to 2020; from which according to the programme financial inclusion in the country would be increased up to at least 70 per cent by the year 2020.
The problem of financial exclusion in the world is a situation that countries, especially the developing ones-like Nigeria can no longer ignore or treat with levity. A situation where a set of people for reasons outside their control, find it difficult or even impossible to access financial services as they may desire, call for both policy and academic attention. A report by the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA, 2010) indicates that the financially excluded people in Nigeria stood at 39.2 million representing 46.3 per cent of the country‟s adult population. Also, a total of 2.9 billion adults across the globe were reported to be financially excluded according to the same source. This underscores the enormous need for financial inclusion, first among the vulnerable groups (physically challenge persons for instance) and in the country as a whole. This is what Nwankwo and Nwankwo (2014) argued that financial inclusion is critical to the attainment of poverty reduction, removal of barriers to economic participation of physically challenge persons: women, youths and those at the bottom of poverty.
Account ownership with bank is a key element of financial inclusion because it has implication for both the holder, the bank, government and the financial system as a whole. When one has no account relationship with at least a bank, the idea of savings will certainly be inconsequential to them. This automatically would impact negatively on the traditional function of financial intermediation by banks-which is basically the mobilisation of funds from surplus to deficit ends that is, the sourcing of funds from areas of availability to be channelled to areas where such funds are most needed, which in turn stimulates economic activities. Government policy would greatly be aided in an economy with a more inclusive financial system. For instance, the conditional cash transfer to the vulnerable and extremely poor policy-formulated in the last quarter of 2015 by the present All Progressives Congress (A.P.C) led federal government of President MuhammaduBuhari (Kumolu, 2015) would have been much easier, faster and successful where the said vulnerable and extremely poor citizens are fully integrated in the mainstream financial system of the country. Because through their data and personal bank accounts, the government would have had direct access to them without any need for intermediaries, which is capable of breeding corruption in terms of siphoning and misappropriation, thereby leaving some of the targeted people unattended. Expansionary and contractionary monetary policy could be affected by a situation where some parts of the country‟s population are financially excluded. Financial inclusion is thus a sine qua non in this regard.
Despite the fact that disability issues have become part of the main discourse in relation to development, human rights and poverty alleviation globally, the MDGs, which were to set parameters to assess a country’s development, did not address the issues of disability within its targeting framework (Groce, 2011). It is on these accounts (developmental, human rights and poverty alleviation) that the UN’s development agenda (Agenda 2030) for Sustainable Development has developmental targets for persons with disabilities. It includes targets for making the environment accessible for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to address the relevance of disability and its inclusion in development efforts. These targets are embedded in Goals 1, 4, 10 and 17 of the SDGs (UN, 2015).
What is meant by “disability” and who can be considered a “disabled” person has been debated over the years. Because disability is contextual, it experience differs between individuals. How it is experienced depends on the nature of one’s impairment and how contextual factors impact it. In usage, the term persons with disabilities (PWDs) is an umbrella one that represent people that have some form of functional limitations and therefore may need or and use assistive device in performing their daily activities as compared with persons without disabilities.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Persons with disabilities “include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others” (p.4). Ghana’s Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) considers person with disability to mean an “individual with a physical, mental or sensory impairment including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability which gives rise to physical, cultural or social barriers that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of that individual” (p.17).
From the above, PWDs can therefore be distinguished by the fact that they may be unable to do certain things in the same way most people in the mainstream society do without some form of adaptation or alternative assistance (Abena Bemah, 2012). It can also be noted that disability results from the interaction between one’s bodily impairment, and the unsuitable and unfriendly structures in society. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified seven different types of disabilities. These include:
- People who are partially sighted or blind,
- People with intellectual or learning disabilities,
- People with physical disability,
- People with an acquired brain injury,
- People who are hearing impaired or deaf,
- People with chronic illnesses,
- People with psychological difficulties or mental-health problems.
Aside these types, it is essential to also note that one can have more than one form of disability. Thus, a person could have physical disability and be visually impaired as well. One can be partially sighted and be deaf or hearing impaired, making one a person with multiple
A person with physical disability that relies on a wheelchair for mobility would have different experience and limitations on his movement compared to someone who is having similar disability and does not have access to a wheelchair. Likewise, physically disabled persons with access to a wheelchair who are in a well built and physically accessible environment with disability rumps have different experience from those in an inaccessible environment. A person who becomes visually impaired as a result of injury or illness also adjust over time to being able to cope with his/her disability. This makes his/her experience of the disability vary across time.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The enormous attention being given to financial inclusion both locally and internationally stems from the important role finance plays in every human institution and endeavour. Looking at the bank branching pattern in Nigeria, it leaves no iota of doubt to any careful observer that it is urban bias. This has been the trend from time immemorial until 1977 when the federal government introduced „the rural banking scheme‟, which was the very first time a deliberate policy attempt was made by government to take banking to the door-steps of the physically challenge persons in the country. The obvious neglect of the physically challenge persons in terms of branch concentration as against what is obtainable in the urban areas where bank branches can conspicuously be seen on major streets, can perhaps be adduced to the peculiarities of the physically challenge persons-such as low level of economic activities vis-à-vis the urban areas, the level of literacy, infrastructural challenges and the general perception of the physically challenge persons as not very profitable areas by the banks (Oluwatayo, 2014). This further explains the assertion by EFInA (2010) that 80.4 per cent of the 39.2 million financially excluded people in Nigeria, are in the physically challenge persons. Financial exclusion is a prevailing reality in Nigeria generally, and in the physically challenge persons in particular; which is said to harbour 63.9 per cent of the country‟s population (EFInA, 2014).
1.3 Research Questions
The specific questions of the study are:
- To what extent has the financial literacy target of Banks enhanced bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government?
- To what extent has Banks microfinance banks‟ branches target increased bank account
ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government?
- To what extent has the savings target of Banks stimulated bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government?
- To what extent has Banks payments target encouraged bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
Generally, this study seeks to determine how bank behaviour has promoted bank account ownership (financial inclusion) among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government Area of Kaduna State,. The specific objectives of the study on the other hand, are as follows:
- To determine the extent to which the financial literacy target of Banks has enhanced bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
- To determine the extent to which Banks microfinance banks‟ branches target has increased bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
- To determine the extent to which the savings target of Banks has stimulated bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
- To determine the extent to which Banks payment target has encouraged bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
The hypotheses below stated in their null form, will be tested in order to provide answers to the research questions raised above.
Ho1: The financial literacy target of Banks has not significantly enhanced bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
Ho2: Banks microfinance banks‟ branches target has not significantly increased bank
account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
Ho3: The savings target of Banks has not significantly stimulated bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
Ho4: Banks payment target has not significantly encouraged the bank account ownership among the physically challenge persons in Kudan Local Government.
1.6 Significance of the Study
In view of the importance of financial inclusion which has continually placed it on the global economic spotlight due to its role in the eradication of national and global challenges like poverty and hunger. Different countries across the globe have designed different policies and programmes in a bid to drive it home by adequately addressing the concern of financial exclusion question within their shores. Nigeria as a member of the comity of nations has also come up with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) as its own formidable approach to the issue, which became effective in 2012. Thus the findings of this study would significantly provide a feedback to the CBN and the federal government on the effectiveness the programme (NFIS) so far in curbing financial exclusion among the physically challenge persons of the country. This is in terms of how it serve to increase the level of bank account ownership in the physically challenge persons or not pursuant to its targets. The findings of this study would reveal to the CBN, the federal government and the general public whether the pattern of banking system in the country, which has been predominantly pro urban is beginning to change in favour of the physically challenge persons as a result of the programme. The findings of this study would further add to the existing body of knowledge in the field of finance and financial inclusion in particular with respect to the financial inclusion situation of the physically challenge persons inKudan Local Government and the country in general. Based on the findings, the study would make recommendations to the CBN and federal government on the way forward on the programme vis-à-vis the peculiarities of the physically challenge persons wherever necessary, with a view to achieving a more meaningful result thereof at the end of the programme‟s time frame in 2020.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is primarily concerned with the issue of financial inclusion of the physically challenge persons. That is, it is particularly concerned with evaluating the role of Banks through its targets in promoting bank account ownership whichis an index of financial inclusion, among the physically challenge persons. The study is situated in Kudan Local Government because it is typically a rural council area with only a single microfinance institution (Nakowa Microfinance Bank) which makes it suitable for the study because its rural peculiarities satisfy the study‟s conception of physically challenge persons.
1.8 Definition of Key Terms
Financial Inclusion: This refers to a situation where all qualified adult citizens who hitherto were outside the banking system in the country are brought into it, by removing any encumbrance posed by either distance, cost, ignorance, lack of option or choice, which could have partly or completely shut individuals or groups out of the national financial system. National Financial
Physically challenge persons: The idea of physically challenge persons as used in this study connotes the hamlets i.e. the grass root population or members of the country‟s population living in the interior or remote areas, where the total number of households may not necessarily exceed hundred (i.e. minor or smaller rural settlements).
Bank Account ownership: Account ownership/account opening as used in this study refers to establishing an account relationship with a bank.
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