Mr Cletus Muryo , Director of Personnel, Shelleng Local Government Area, Adamawa, has said the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) had improved standard of living in the council`s communities.
Muryo spoke on the sidelines of the 12th International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Supervision Mission on the programme in Shelleng on Monday.
He said implementing RUFIN in Shelleng could not have come at a better time, as the council was entirely a rural setting, where people are still grappling with how to provide for themselves.
According to him, residents of the community are very accommodating but the area has challenges of lack of access roads and incessant flooding.
He said in no distant time, the area would be disconnected from the other parts of the state due to flooding from heavy rains.
The Director of Personnel said the condition of the only access road in the area was beyond the council`s finances.
“The importance of RUFIN cannot be overemphasised; it is actually implementing the heart-desire of the Federal Government.
“The issue of empowerment is paramount and we are eyewitnesses to the improvement recorded within the period of time RUFIN has been operating here.
“In fact, there has been a lot of advancement in the quality of lives of our people here.
“We are highly appreciative as a community and we are trusting and believing God that your reward is going to be abundant.
“On our part as a council, we will always be in support of RUFIN, we will go to any length to support the programme.
“Because you are doing 50 per cent of what the council should be doing for the people; so you are making our job easier, “ he said.
He likened RUFIN to a religious organisation describing the operators of the programme as people of `timber and calibre,’ who had left their comfort zone to identify with the rural poor.
In a separate interview, Mrs Deborah Ademu, a beneficiary of the programme, said prior to the advent of RUFIN, they had no access to loans from any bank.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ademu is the Chairlady of the `kaudatalauci’ women group based in Bodwai community.
She said she had accessed N150, 000 loan facilities through RUFIN, adding that this had expanded her farm from two hectares to five hectares.
Mrs Grader Yaerus, another beneficiary of the `Handinkai’ women group based in Dalwa community, said she accessed loan of N40, 000 with which she established a pig farm.
Yarus said she started with three pigs but she now has 13 pigs from which she had sold three and paid back the loan.
NAN reports that RUFIN is an IFAD sponsored programme in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The pilot programme, which is being implemented in 12 states across the six geo-political zones, is aimed at enhancing financial inclusion in rural areas.
The 12 states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Edo, Anambra, Imo, Benue, Nasarawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Oyo.
The programme uses the village saving group methodology where rural dwellers are grouped, trained and linked to trained microfinance institutions for access to affordable loans. (NAN)