By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: In a bid to extend financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of the society, the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has in collaboration with Fidelity Bank PLC, launched an Integrated Agency Banking and TSA collections.
The Integrated Agency Banking Services which was launched in Abuja on Thursday, incorporates the collections of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) on a single platform and the launch will help to drive government’s financial inclusion policy and facilitate funds transfer between citizens for mutual benefits.
In his remarks, the Postmaster General of the Federation and CEO, NIPOST, Barr. Bisi Adegbuyi, noted that with the launch, NIPOST customers can get banking services in the post offices Nationwide and can as well deposit and withdraw money, including payment of bills for utility services in Post offices where the services are available.
He also stated that the service will promote the Federal government’s pro-poor agenda and reduce the risks of traveling miles by customers to transact banking business as this can now be done at the closest post office nearest to them.
According to him, “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 .
The policy he said, places high premium on providing access at a reasonable cost for all households to a full range of financial services, including savings and deposit services, payment and transfer services as well.
“With effect from today, Fidelity Bank will have its Point of Sales (POS) used for TSA collections on NIPOST counters and which have also been upgraded to perform the dual function of Agency Banking”, he said.
The PMG, added that the arrangements will enable customers, irrespective of the bank where their accounts are domiciled to access this facility in the Post Office for cash withdrawals and deposits.
For his part, the Deputy Managing Director, Fidelity Bank PLC, Mr. Mohammed Balarabe, said that Fidelity Bank is interested in the project because it is in line with the bank’s strategy for financial inclusion.
He also revealed that most Nigerians do not have access to financial services across the country but NIPOST is deploying over 1400 locations to provide the bridge.
Balarabe, promised to collaborate with NIPOST to deploy banking services to all and sundry across the country, adding that 266 branches will be involved in the pilot project.
“People should go and try us and ensure that they get the services they deserve. I assure you that Fidelity will ensure that more locations will be availed with the services”, he stated.
In his own remarks, the Head Digital Financial Services, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Steven Ambore, stated that over 36.6 million Nigerian adults currently do not have access to financial services and Nigeria has committed to achieving 80% financial inclusion by 2020.
“With this product, by 2020, we will all stand and celebrate. The CBN is excited as we are seeing a policy directive come to life”, he said.
The project has the potential to increase the revenue base of both organizations and enhance the savings culture of the rural dwellers as well as help in mopping excess cash from rural communities.
The theme of the partnership was, “Unifying Agency Banking and TSA Collections on a Single Platform”.