To beat the deadline for the stoppage of old naira notes, the Borno State government has established emergency microfinance banks in 25 of the 27 Local Government Areas of the state.
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum directed the State Ministry of Finance and that of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to establish the banks in accordance with regulatory procedures.
Zulum’s directive followed the CBN’s policy on the stoppage of old naira notes amid the absence of banking services across 25 out of Borno’s 27 Local Government Areas due to over 12 years of killings and destructions by Boko Haram insurgents.
The governor announced the microfinance measures on Wednesday in Maiduguri during an extraordinary stakeholders meeting which was attended by the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Umar Garbai Elkanemi, represented by the Waziri of Borno, Mustapha Waziri Muktar.
Zulum directed that where possible, branches of the microfinance bank should start being established this week in Monguno and Gwoza Local Government Areas.
Zulum lamented, “At the moment, we only have two LGAs with banking services and these are Maiduguri and Biu.
“The distance from most of the local governments to either Maiduguri or Biu is too long.
He continued, “Despite a great improvement of the security in Borno, there are still challenges for banks to start operations. Banking is a very delicate industry and I am sure none of them is willing to take the risk of establishing branches in our LGAs for now.”
He said the state government had to, therefore, take the risk of opening branches of the state’s microfinance bank in the 25 local government areas to alleviate the suffering of the people of the state.
Governor Zulum also directed the Ministry of Finance to immediately come up with a template to organise and ensure people in rural communities deposit their old naira notes before the January 31 deadline.
He also directed the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to support mobile telecommunication providers towards improving their network coverage for internet connectivity across all 27 local government areas.