As part of efforts to boost financial inclusion in the country, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has said it will be refurbishing over 2000 of its outlets across the country for the proposed NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB).
According to the Postmaster General of the country, Adebisi Adegbuyi, 106 NIPOST outlets have already been selected for the first phase of the rollout of the NMFB across the country. He said this at a two-day seminar organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for financial journalists, that took place in Gombe.
Adegbuyi, who was represented by NIPOST Director, Finance and Investment, Usman Shaba, noted that the move was in line with the drive for financial inclusion.
He said: “The investments made by the government in postal outlets all over the federation in time past would now be put to use to reach the unbanked.
“A lot of Nigerians are unbanked and these unbanked people are mostly in the rural communities and these postal outlets will be leveraged upon to promote financial inclusion in the unbanked communities.
“So what NIPOST is doing essentially is to improve on these outlets. over 2000 of them nationwide to make available as outlets for the commercial banks and in particular the NMFB.”
He added: “Prior to this, the CBN having looked at the infrastructural spread of NIPOST have granted NIPOST a super-agent licence which makes it possible for NIPOST to render financial services on behalf of virtually all the commercial banks in Nigeria.
“NIPOST is very ready to deliver the 106 outlets that the NMFB has targeted for take-off. NIPOST officials along with NMFB and CBN have gone through all the regions of the country and the reason why we even selected the 106 is to make sure that each of the outlet we selected are good enough and ready,” he stated.
On his part, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, noted that the agreement with NIPOST and the Bankers’ Committee was to ensure that credit gets to micro-businesses and to take financial inclusion to the rural areas.
He said the CBN under Godwin Emefiele, was committed to ensuring that a greater number of Nigerians are brought into the banking system.
He added: “Our shared agent network which aims at mobilising 500,000 agents across the country, our payment system, the mobile banking, the mobile money, the MFB all of them come together to ensure that jobs are created and poverty is alleviated and more and more people are moved from the informal sector through financial inclusion.
“So we are working with NIPOST that has the infrastructure, we are working with the Bankers’ Committee that has intentionally and willingly provided part of their profit and unleashing these resources on all those people at the base of the pyramid.”
On his part, the Group Head, Commercial Banking at Access Bank, Femi Oluwatosin, who represented the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said: “The partnership coming from the banks is to facilitate the movement of credit. The assurance that we have this time, that this financing will reach to the grassroots is the fact that the CBN has been saddled with the responsibility to open branches aggressive branch opening so that this fund can be accessible through the MFB that has been created by the bankers’ committee.”