Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) is set to deliver over 2000 outlets for the proposed NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB). This was disclosed by NIPOST’s Director in charge of Finance and Investment, Usman Shaba.
Shaba, who was represented at a two-day seminar organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria in Gombe State (CBN) for financial journalists, also noted that 106 NIPOST outlets have already been selected for the first phase of the rollout of the NMFB across the country.
The move to deliver these outlets, according to Shaba, is in line with its efforts to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria.
“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.”
Why national microfinance banks would be deployed: The bank has been designed to drive and deepen financial inclusion, provide easy access to credit, and other financial services to SMEs. It also aims to reduce the unemployment rate in the rural areas, whilst inevitably reducing rural-urban migration.
According to the Chairman of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Aliyu Abdulhameed, the new bank would effectively serve the millions of small entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers in the country.
“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 Microfinance Bank is expected to bring about a revolution in the country’s financial sector, whilst serving specifically to the advantage of MSMEs.
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 idle with CBN.
Price Watch: Nigerians paid less for Kerosene in December 2020
NBS Report shows that consumers paid less for Kerosene in December than they did in November 2020.
The latest National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) Price Watch report for the month of December 2020 indicates that the average price per litre paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene reduced by 0.17% from N353.38 in November 2020 to N352.79 in December 2020.
Also according to the report, the average price per gallon paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene reduced by 3.52% from N1,218.50 in November 2020 to N1,175.59 in December 2020.
Price variations across states
- In the month of December 2020, States with the highest average price per litre of kerosene include; Benue (N436.81), Ebonyi (N425.83) and Taraba (N423.33).
- However, consumers in Bayelsa (N235.95), Rivers (N302.04) and Delta (N307.69) enjoyed the lowest average price per litre of kerosene.
- Consumers in Kebbi (N1,534.21), Nasarawa (N1,488.00) and Benue (N1,450.00) paid the highest average price per gallon of kerosene.
- While consumers in Sokoto (N733.33), Bayelsa (N773.75) and Adamawa (N822.00) on the other hand, paid the lowest average price per gallon of kerosene.
Prices across zones
- Consumers in South-East zone paid the highest average price for a litre of Kerosene (N377.53), followed by North East (N370.13), North West (N354.66), North Central (N354.44) while consumers in South West(N337.57) and South South (N325.96) paid the lowest average price for a litre of Kerosene.
- In respect of the average price paid for a gallon of Kerosene, consumers in North West zone paid the highest (N1,197.54), followed by North Central (N1,305.68), South East (N1,220.66), while consumers in South West (N1,161.00), North East (N1,113.25) and South-South(N1,037.60) paid the lowest average price of a gallon of kerosene.
Why this matters
Kerosene has remained an important source of energy for cooking for most families, both in the rural areas and cities. Kerosene is mostly used in rural areas as a source of lighting.
Considering that food and lighting are very essential to life, it is therefore important that the price paid for Kerosene is quite reasonable and as well as affordable for most Nigerians.
Transport Fare Watch: Commuters by bus journey intercity paid more in December 2020
NBS report indicates that commuters paid more for bus journey intercity in December 2020 than they did in November 2020.
The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity increased by 4.98% from N2,240.66 in November 2020 to N2,532.19 in December 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report for the month of December 2020.
According to the report, commuters in Abuja FCT (N4,415.73), Sokoto (N3,255.20), and Lagos (N3,250.60) paid the highest bus journey fare intercity while commuters in Bayelsa (N1,550.73), Bauchi (N1,600.70), and Akwa Ibom (N1,700.54) paid the lowest bus journey fare intercity.
Other key highlights of the report…
- The average airfare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 0.42% from N36,301.74 in November to N36,454.59 in December 2020.
- Passengers from Anambra (N38,700.00), Lagos (N38,550.00), Cross River (N38,500.00) paid the highest airfare were while passengers from Akwa Ibom (N32,600.00), Sokoto (N33,500.00), and Gombe (N34,750.00) paid the lowest airfare.
- The average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city increased by 6.18% from N333.86 in November 2020 to N354.49 in December 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) report for the month of December 2020.
- Commuters in Zamfara (N600.50), Bauchi (N526.30), and Cross River (N458.07) paid the highest bus journey within the states whiles commuters in Abia (N200.50), Anambra (N242.23), and Borno (N243.12) paid the lowest bus journey fare within the city.
- The average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 6.14% from N276.38 in November 2020 to N293.36 in December 2020.
- Commuters in Niger (N1,575.70), Yobe (N397.45) and Imo (N397.42) paid the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop while commuters in Adamawa (N80.40), Katsina (N130.25) and Kebbi (N146.25) paid the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop.
- The average fare paid by passengers for waterway transport increased by 0.19% from N756.84 in November 2020 to N758.27 in December 2020.
- Passengers in Delta (N2,300.35), Bayelsa (N2,240.00) and Rivers (N2,200.00) paid the highest fare by waterway passenger transport while passengers in Borno (N240.73), Gombe (N293.24) and Kebbi (N349.64) paid the lowest fare by water way passenger transport.
Why this matters
Cost of transportation has been noted to account for the huge chunk of the budget for most lower/middle-class Nigerians and as well takes not less than 20% of their take-home pay packages.
The increase in transport cost for the month of December 2020 may not be unconnected with the yuletide seasons that come with an unusually high cost of goods and services.
Productivity-enhancing reforms is required for quick economic recovery – World Bank
Productivity-enhancing structural reforms key to quick economic recovery.
The World Bank has revealed that a slow recovery of the global economy is not an inevitability and can be avoided through productivity-enhancing structural reforms.
This is contained in the Bank’s flagship report – Global Economic Prospects.
The Bank believes structural reforms are capable of offsetting the pandemic’s scarring effects and lay the foundations for higher long-run growth. It agrees that the global economy appears to be emerging from one of its deepest recessions and beginning a subdued recovery, beyond the short term economic outlook, following the devastating health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
According to the report, policymakers face formidable challenges — in public health, debt management, budget policies, central banking, and structural reforms, as they try to ensure that this still-fragile global recovery gains traction and sets a foundation for robust growth and development.
- Growth in Nigeria is expected to resume at 1.1% in 2021 – markedly weaker than previous projections – and edge up to 1.8% in 2022, as the economy faces severe challenges.
- Investment is projected to shrink again this year in more than a quarter of economies – primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where investment gaps were already large prior to the pandemic.
- Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rebound only moderately to 2.7% in 2021 – 0.4% point weaker than previously projected, before firming to 3.3% in 2022.
- Relative to advanced economies, disruptions to schooling have, on average, been more prolonged in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs), including in low-income countries.
What the World Bank is saying
- “In the longer run, a concerted push toward productivity-enhancing structural reforms will be required to offset the pandemic’s scarring effects.
- “The intended productivity-enhancing structural reforms encompass promoting education, effective public investment, sectoral reallocation, and improved governance. Investment in green infrastructure projects can provide further support to sustainable long-run growth while also contributing to climate change mitigation.”
Are we ready to adjust structurally?
The World Bank has identified key areas that could trigger quick economic recovery. A close look at events in the country appears to suggest that we may be far from ready in terms of adjusting structurally.
A cursory look at the structural adjustment areas suggested by the Bank indicates that in Nigeria, for example, and maybe elsewhere, the single most important factor is improved governance.
All other factors appear to be contingent on this, as the Bank admits that improved governance and reduced corruption can lay the foundations for higher long-run growth. Policymakers and politicians in the country are therefore advised to pay close attention to activities geared towards reduced corruption and improved governance.
Another key area is public investment. Even though most public enterprises and related establishments are usually plagued with corporate governance problems, there are several ways by which the problems could be curtailed.
The issue of education, especially tertiary education, has been problematic with governments failing to meet the demands of university unions, resulting in strikes, almost on a yearly basis. It is hoped that a lasting solution to this springs forth soon.