Post offices to drive financial inclusion pilot scheme

The pilot scheme of the national financial inclusion strategy will utilise post offices to spread banking services to the people of Borno State rather than rely on the conventional bank branches.

The strategy will take off today in Maiduguri, the state capital.

The Bankers’ Committee had explained on Tuesday, while announcing Borno State for the pilot that the successful implementation of the project in the state would help in guiding banks in replicating it in other states.

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Bank Limited, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, said in Lagos yesterday that due to the current security situation in Borno State and the high cost of setting up bank branches, the promoters of the financial inclusion strategy had opted to utilise post office branches since they were already on the ground.

Justifying the choice of the state for the pilot programme, Kuru said studies had determined that only 2.5 per cent of indigenes of the state earned above the national minimum wage of N18,000 monthly, while about 87 per cent of the population lived in rural areas.

The overall target of the programme is to raise the level of financial inclusion in the state; where only about 280,000 out of a population of five million people currently have access to financial services, to a level where women, youths and rural dwellers, who are currently excluded, will be integrated into the financial system.

Apart from using the post office structure, Kuru said the promoters of the project would rely heavily on indigenes of the state, who would be adequately trained and have their capacity enhanced.

He said: “If we succeed with the project in Borno, it will be extended to other states of the federation; and we are convinced that we will succeed.”

The project, according to him, is a joint initiative of the Federal Government, Borno State Government, the Bankers’ Committee, relevant security agencies, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Consumer Protection Council, CPC.

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