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Cashless Policy: Bauchi Microfinance Agency Promotes Digital Financial Inclusion for Village Savings & Loans Groups

By Abdulwahab Muhammad Bauchi 

Towards addressing the challenges associated with CBN cashless policy as it affects financial transactions of Village Saving and loans Associations (VSLAs),
The Bauchi State Agency for Sustainable Micro-Finance has  unveiled measures to forestall any perceived hardships that may arise as a result of the Cashless policy. 

The Director General of the Agency, Alhaji Nura  Muhammad Danmadami (Danmadamin Katagum) disclosed this to newsmen in his office on Friday saying that, the move has become imperative for the sustainability of the VSLAs in the State. 

The DG said that currently the Village Saving and loans Associations (VSLAs) deals with cash, where they save cash and also collect loans in cash to engage in their petty tradings, but that with the renewed cashless policy, the VSLA members found themselves stranded with no cash and any means of making financial transactions. 

According to the DG, the VSLAs and their members operate a manual process of cash-in-box and that most of the members do not have access to formal financial services of commercial banks which made them financially excluded. 

“So, after studying the effects of the cashless policy on the performance of the VSLAs and their members, our Agency has reached out to partner with some formal financial institutions for account opening process for members of the various VSLAs spread across the state. 

“Not only have we created ease of processes of operations for the VSLAs and their members, other intending VSLAs can also avail themselves the opportunity of having a cooperative registration and account opening options at the Agency. 

“What we have here at the Agency is a one-stop-shop to facilitate all the process of account opening for VSLAs, including cooperative registration of VSLAs and issuance of TIN numbers. 

 “Under our MIFIN program, it takes just about 24 hours for VSLAs to be financially inclusive, as against long months of waiting, to get VSLAs and their members registered and active with a functional bank accounts, inline with complying with the cashless policy that has come to stay”, Mallam Nura said. 

The DG also revealed that the move by the Agency is aimed making VSLAs financially included and also spur to them into having a functional bank accounts , at both Associations and individual members level, which they can leverage on for their daily transactions. 

He further explain that members of VLSA group will have a functioning personal account and that VSLA groups will have a cooperative bank account with POS machine attached to the account. He said members can use the POS machine to make additional income.

Other benefits attached to the process according to the DG, is that it will offer opportunities for Members of VSLA groups to have sound knowledge on how to make financial transactions using  POS machines, ATM cards, or using USSD codes. 

He also said that, at least 2 people from each group will be trained on how to use the POS machine and have them further cascade the training to other members of the community.

The DG calls on all MIFIN partnering MFIs to take advantage of the Agency’s one stop shop initiative to ensure that their VSLAs groups open bank accounts and are operating on digital financial inclusion to sustain their financial transactions during the cashless policy transition.

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