NIGERIA, IIFC Sign Contract on Financial Inclusion Project

The Federal Government and the International Investment Facilitation Company (IIFC), of Bangladesh, on Tuesday signed the contract for its financial inclusion project, aimed at reducing Nigeria’s high populace of financially excluded individuals in the rural and remote parts of the country.

The project THISDAY learnt is a multi-agency initiative which involves the Ministry of Communication Technology, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) as project owners and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), and the Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the Ministry of Finance as project stakeholders.

At the signing ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Tunji Olaopa, said the objective of the project is to utilize the vast network of post offices across the country to create and improve the access of rural dwellers who in the past have little or no access to financial services.

She admitted that the project is coming at a critical time when NIPOST is facing declining revenue from traditional mail operations which is daily being eroded by advances in digital communications technology.

According to her, the financial inclusive revolution is coming amidst an increasingly competitive and harsh business environment which has necessitated a rethink by NIPOST to explore new lines of business.

The Minister said: "With the signing of the contract today, the NIPOST-CBN financial inclusion project has therefore moved into its procurement phase. During this phase the transaction adviser will support government in deciding the best way in which financial services should be provided via the post office network, as well as support the process of selecting a private entity that will partner NIPOST to provide these services."