Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s wholly owned Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has unveiled its new national Microfinance Bank (MFB), which is expected to take off in February 2019.
With branches in all 774 Local Government Areas of the country, NIRSAL is set to begin full operations with a target to reach about 400,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within its first two years.
Aliyu Abdulhameed, the Chairman, NIRSAL MFB (NMFB), said the launch is scheduled to take place simultaneously across the six geopolitical zones in the country and at the flagship branch in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He added that the other pilot locations are: Bauchi, Ibadan, Kaduna, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lokoja Nipost offices.
NIRSAL MFB’s significance
The bank has been designed to drive and deepen financial inclusion; provide easy access to credit and other financial services to SMEs; reduce unemployment rate in the rural areas; and reduce rural-urban migration.
According to Abdulhameed, the new bank would effectively serve the millions of small entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers in the country.
He said, “The mission and strategy of NMFB are focused on making significant, sustainable and measurable impact on small businesses across Nigeria and, by extension, on the lives of millions of Nigerians dependent on them in the overall interest of the economy.”
NIRSAL MFB is expected to bring into existence a revolution in the country’s financial sector and among MSMEs operators.
More so, the new financial institution which is a product of a tripartite partnership between the Bankers’ Committee, NIRSAL and the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) would be saddled with administering banks’ Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) funds. The bank would disburse the huge SMEs funds contributed by the banks which have been sitting in CBN idle.
The microfinance bank is in strategic partnership with NIPOST with a view to leverage on NIPOST’s widespread offices, while NIRSAL would bring to bear its expertise and experience in financing low-income entrepreneurs and de-risking of credits originated by the MFB by providing guarantees in line with its mandate. The Bankers Committee provided the set-up equity capital and owns 50 per cent of the bank, while NIRSAL and NIPOST own 40 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.