The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources on Wednesday in Abuja signed an MoU on the provision of a 40-million-dollar facility for the implementationÂ of the Rural Financing Institution Building Programme (RUFIN). The facility was offered by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to finance 345,000 rural households in 12 selected states in the country.
The states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Katsina, Zamfara, Nassarawa, Lagos, Oyo, Benue, Anambra, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Edo.Mr Otaki Oyigbenu, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, who signed on behalf of the ministry, said the facility was for the development of rural-based micro finance institutions. He said RUFIN would help to strengthen micro finance institutions in the rural areas by establishing linkages between them, to create a viable and sustainable rural financial system.
Oyigbenu said the programme was aimed at reducing poverty among the rural poor, especially women, youth and the physically challenged. He said RUFIN was targeted at the rural poor, because they lacked access to financial services and had limited access to land, leading to low agricultural productivity. He said the factors militated against opportunities for off-farm income-generating activities for the rural dwellers.
Mr Joe Alegieuno, Director, Development Finance, CBN, urged the ministry to ensure the success of the programme. He said the MoU was a fulfillment of one of the conditions for the loan, adding that the apex bank would provide maximum support to ensure that the rural folks benefited from the programme.