Uche Usim, Abuja
The quest to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria has propelled Fidelity bank and Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) to collaboratively take banking services to 266 rural communities spread across the country.
Speaking at the launch of integrated banking services between Fidelity bank and NIPOST in Abuja on Thursday, the Deputy Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Mohammed Balarabe said the bank identified NIPOST as a strategic partner in the endeavour because of the strong presence of NIPOST in various nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
He said such robust spread naturally makes NIPOST a major partner in its financial inclusion strategy by deploying all its banking services in 266 locations using NIPOST offices in locations lacking banking facilities.
According to him, the 266 locations form part of the first phase of the financial inclusion programme as plans are afoot to broaden the reach since Nigeria has 774 Local Government Areas and NIPOST has offices in all of them.
Under this project, bank customers can transact businesses using Point Of Sales, or deposit into any bank operating in Nigeria, withdraw from any bank account in Nigeria, engage in ATM transactions, transfer to any bank account, carry out payment services like taxes, rates and levies; school fees; electricity bills and satellite television subscriptions.
In his remarks at the event, the Post Master General of the Federation (PMG) and Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST Mr. Bisi Adegboye said NIPOST “the sleeping giant has come back to life to fulfill its Corporate Social Responsibility.”
He added: “the internet has taken away the old ways of making money from NIPOST but has also opened exponential opportunities by leveraging on new technology and ICT to tap into current trends of transactions like online purchases.” NIPOST he assured will make itself relevant to change the lives of Nigerians.
One of such changes is that NIPOST now plans to give every Nigerian a digital address yo make easy for Nigerians to access credit and resolve issues surrounding identity management in the country.
Adegboye noted that “this partnership also avails Fidelity Bank the opportunity to expand its network using the over 1800 post office facilities nationwide to take banking closer to the people in line with the Federal government’s Financial Inclusion policy which places high premium on providing financial services to the under-banked and unbanked populace, who work in the informal sector of the economy without or less access to financial services.”
He added that “the integrated Agency Banking services incorporate the collections of a treasury single account (TSA) on a single platform. With this development, it means that NlPOST customers can also get banking services in the Post offices nationwide and can deposit and withdraw money, including payment of bills for utility services in Post offices where these services are available without stress.”
The collaboration he stated has “added impetus to NIPOST revenue drive as it would no doubt boost our revenue profile in addition to tradition postal services.”