By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Post Master General of Nigerian Postal Services, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, says the Post will bring over 40 million rural people into the financial market with the establishment of shared financial agent services across the country.
The PMG was speaking on the newly launched One Network managed multi- stakeholder partnership at Kubwa Post office, Abuja.
He said the post office will soon become the most important center for access to financial and citizen services under the financial inclusion pragramme of the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN in partnership with the federal Ministry of Communications Technology.
Baba stated that the NIPOST is not just about posting stamps but is actually setup to provide much more such as e-commerce and other allied services.
‘‘We have completed arrangements with e-commerce services providers like Konga who will also be able to utilize this project to extend their services to unserved areas across the country.
The facility which is a partnership between Nipost and NigComSat and managed by One Network limited is powered by NigComSat’s new Ka-band to boost internet accessibility in all the targeted 50,000 rural area locations across the country.
The launching of the project was described as a major milestone in making financial inclusion a reality in Nigeria, with about 1,170 post offices available for the provision of the shared financial services by Central Bank Licensed Financial institutions like FirstBank’s FirstMonie, Nigeria Agric. payment Initiative ( NAPI ) involving NIMC , Ministry of Agriculture and Central Bank based on Cellulant’s mobile payment platform.
The Managing-Director of NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale, said that the new Ka-band would provide cheap internet financial transactions and internet accessibility at a lower cost to Nigerians through this partnership.
Alale said the new Ka-band inaugurated recently would be used by NIPOST, government, private and public stakeholders to achieve its aim.
On his part, the Director General of NITDA , Mr Peter Jack expressed commitment in setting up Public Access Venues with connected systems that can be used for access to digital services by the local community where the post offices are located.
The project is an initiative of stakeholders coming together to make sure that it works out.
It is expected to transform NIPOST to a modern postal service through digital financial services starting with 1170 Post offices across the country.
The Chief executive of One Network, the project managing partner, Mr Sola Bickersteth, said the Ka-band satellite from NIGCOMSAT would enable affordable connectivity in every rural community across Nigeria, creating job opportunities for interested agents .
He said rural people would also have access to agriculture loans, small business loans , mortgage facilities , insurance among others services that are beneficial to rural citizens .
“We are collaborating with The various stakeholders to have the post offices properly equipped, powered and connected as well provided with trained agent services staff,’’ he added.
Under the scheme, other financial institutions and service providers would also have the opportunity to become a part of the NIPOST Financial and Citizen Benefit Shared Services Scheme which targets 50,000 locations across the country.
In addition, the National Identity Management Commission ( NIMC) also would leverage the facility for enrolment of local citizens to obtain their National Identity Cards.