By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Central Bank of Nigeria wholly owned Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has unveiled its new national MicroFinance Bank (MFB) with branches in all 774 Local Government Areas in the country.
Known as NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, the new financial institution which is a product of a tripartite partnership between the Bankers’ Committee, NIRSAL and the 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 has been sitting in CBN idle, owing to a lack of the necessary window to administer it among operators of that sector.
NIRSAL said in a statement that the bank, which would be launched this month, would bring about a revolution in the country’s financial sector and among MSMEs operators.
“The new institution, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) will expand available options and empower SMEs across Nigeria with structured microcredit to help them establish and expand their businesses”, it said.
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.
NIRSAL said the NMFB is projected to reach an estimated 400,000 SMEs within the first two years of operation.
It explained further on the bank’s ownership structure, “The MFB 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.
“A strong basis for optimism regarding the success of NMFB is its plan to make use of extant structures to reach the most financially excluded Nigerians in rural communities
“As part of this strategy, NIPOST’s post offices located across the nation will provide easily accessible offices to urban and rural Nigerians.
“NIRSAL Microfinance Bank will be a game-changer which will complement and support existing structures and players in the sector to better serve the millions of small entrepreneurs in the country.”
Speaking on the development, the Chairman, NIRSAL, MFB, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed described the new bank as the game-changer which will complement and support the existing structures and players in the sector to better serve the millions of small entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers in the country.
His 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. The bank will work with all relevant partners, stakeholders and players to achieve this.”