Rural Poor To Gain From CBN, IFAD Financial Outreach Programme

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have introduced the Rural Financial Outreach Coordinating Committee (ROCC) as exit strategy for Rural Financial Institution Building (RUFIN) programme which ends next year.

The Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been implementing the RUFIN programme in 12 states across the six geo-political zones in the last six years.

CBN Director of Development Finance, Dr. Mudashir Olaitan who was represented by Edwin Nzelu at the National Consultative Workshop for Rural Finance Outreach Coordinating Committee (ROCC) under the IFAD Rural Finance Institution (RUFIN) Building programme in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State yesterday said ROCC was structured as an exit strategy for RUFIN in order to sustain the programme goal and objective of rural financial inclusion for poor households.

“ROCC will continue to implement the programme activities when RUFIN ends in 2017,” he reiterated.

Central Bank of Nigeria
Central Bank of Nigeria

The apex bank director said the essence of ROCC was to “institutionalize rural outreach and build stakeholder synergy for microfinance strategy implementation, financial inclusion and economic empowerment of the active poor.”

The Country Manager, IFAD Programme, Ms Atsuko Toda said in terms of rural financial services, the UN agency over the last six years has contributed a lot to rural poor’s access to financial services.

Ms. Toda said IFAD would like to see the Nigerian apex bank continue with the micro finance agenda for the active and financially excluded rural poor adding that IFAD would sustain their micro finance services in the context of other programmes in the country.

The RUFIN Deputy National Coordinator, Mrs. Uneku Ufaruna stated that the rural financial outreach coordinating programme was conceived to take over when RUFIN ends in 2017 adding that ROCC was meant to coordinate rural financial delivery in the states.

According to her, the programme will push micro finance institutions to go into rural areas to enhance rural penetration and increase access to financial service by the financially excluded communities in the states.

Mrs. Ufaruna said as at October this year, the micro finance banks have extended over N30 billion credit to about 18,000 village saving and credit groups and the rural poor under the RUFIN programm, stressing that the recovery rate was 95 to 100 per cent.