Nigeria: CBN, IFAD Seek to Expand Rural Financial Inclusion

Nov 2016
Nigeria , November, 13 2016 - The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, have concluded plans to sustain the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme initiatives by establishing Rural Outreach Coordinating Committee to enhance financial inclusion in rural areas after the exit of RUFIN.

Development Finance Department, CBN, Dr Mudashir Olaitan, who was represented by Edwin Nzelu, during the ‘National Consultative Workshop for Rural Finance Outreach Coordinating Committee, ROCC, under the IFAD Rural Finance Institution, RUFIN, Building Programme’, held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

According to Olaitan’s explanation, the essence of the workshop was to create awareness through sensitisation of stakeholders in the microfinance sector on rural financial inclusion, and made it clear that the ROCC, will fine tune and continue with what RUFIN started in 2010 as it will wind up by 2017.

He said: “The workshop is to sensitise and create awareness and to emphasise the existence of ROCC which is structured as an exit strategy for RUFIN because what the RUFIN project has achieved needs to be sustained. In this regard, ROCC will continue to midwife the laudable initiative and run with it when RUFIN exits in 2017.

“ROCC as conceived is already running with structures in place. and ROCC is there to finish up what RUFIN has started.”

According to the Country Director, IFAD, Atsuko Toda, in terms of rural financial services, access to rural finance, over the last six years RUFIN has contributed a lot in the microfinance sub sector by building capacity of microfinance institutions.And for the new phase of the programme we are collaborating with the CBN to see how they will sustain RUFIN activities.

“We have through RUFIN exceeded our target. RUFIN has been able to mobilise over 18, 000 Village Savings and Credit Groups including women and youth, build capacity of some of the microfinance banks. We feel that the microfinance subsector is much more stable than it where it was when we started about six years ago. We hope to see these institutions, MFIs and CBN will continue the RUFIN initiatives especially improving rural financial inclusion.

“For IFAD we will continue to mainstream microfinance as a component in our programmes”, she said.

Expressing optimism over the sustainability of the programme by CBN through ROCC, the RUFIN National Programme Coordinator, Alhaji Olumuyiwa Azeez represented by Deputy National Programme Coordinator, Mrs. Uneku Ufaruna , said with the achievements recorded by the programme in the 12 states over the past six years will bring more rural women and youth out of poverty.

“There is no programme that will remain memorable in Nigeria without an exit strategy so that is how the conception of ROCC came into being. Now whether RUFIN is around or not, ROCC is meant to coordinate the rural finance delivery in the states because they are the eyes of all the stakeholders involved in the delivery.

“They are to push the microfinance institutions to go into rural areas to enhance rural penetration and to enhance access to financial services by the financially excluded communities in their various states.

“As of October this year the MFIs have extended over N30 billion credits to the rural poor and have recovered them. Recovery is 95 per cent to 100 per cent. The programme inculcated a savings culture to rural households and most of them can boost of savings in cash, investment in both on farm and off farm activities.

“We expect that when RUFIN closes at the state level, ROCC should be able to continue implementation. The CBN is anchoring ROCC and with the money they released from their budget the RUFIN initiatives will continue after the programme closure in 2017.

“We hope the states are ready to contribute in running ROCC activities and ehnance financial inclusion in their states,” he added.


Source : Vanguard

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