Despite coronavirus, banks opened 35 million new accounts in five months

Despite coronavirus, banks opened 35 million new accounts in five months

- 35 million new bank accounts were opened in Nigeria amid the COVID-19 lockdown

- The new accounts were opened between January to May 2020

- Experts say the lockdown saw a greater dependence on alternative banking channels by customers

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The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBBS) has revealed that bank accounts in Nigeria have risen by 35 million between January to May 2020.

A breakdown of the data indicates that the total number of bank accounts grew astronomically to 160 million from 125 million, which represents a growth of 78.1 percent.

According to the data, the number of active accounts also grew by 32.1 million in 5 months from 79.4 million active accounts in January to 111.5 million by the end of May.

Experts say this may not be unconnected with the lockdown which saw a greater dependence on alternative banking channels.

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Despite coronavirus, banks opened 35 million new accounts in five months

Nigerians could not get to banking halls during the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo credit: Nairametrics
Source: UGC

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The number of active accounts for the last five months is far greater than the average of 74 million active accounts between January and December 2019.

However, the data also revealed a negative growth in current accounts as it witnessed a drop of 108 thousand accounts between January and May.

The total current account in January was 25.2 million, while it dropped to 25.1 million.

The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the Nigerian economy has prompted the rollout of new economic policies, aimed at revamping the country’s economy, create jobs and wealth for the citizens.

Experts are optimistic that the Covid-19 pandemic will start easing in Africa’s largest economy by September and boost investments in food and consumer-facing industries.

Recent research of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has shown that 74.2 per cent of businesses in the country had stopped operating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The World Bank had also warned that the Nigerian economy may go into severe recession if efforts are not made to contain the impact of COVID-19.

But, President Muhammadu Buhari recently assured Nigerians that the economic sustainability plan put together by his administration to stimulate the economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic would extend protection to poor Nigerians and other vulnerable groups.

Meanwhile, in Niger, the governor of the state, Abubakar Bello, on Tuesday, June 30 ordered a 30 per cent slash in the salaries and allowances of all political officers as a way to shore up revenue post-COVID-19.

Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, made the announced in a statement in Minna, the state capital.

“Those to be affected by the order include the governor, his deputy, commissioners, special advisers, and all other political appointees,” the statement said.

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