Nigeria: Imperative of consultation among MFBs’ stakeholders
By Hope Moses-Ashike, Business Day Online
Since the launch of microfinance policy, several efforts have been made to ensure that stakeholders come together.
For instance, there is the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) at the national, state and zonal levels, and that has provided adequate platform for interaction and experience sharing among microfinance bankers.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stated in the policy framework for microfinance banks (MFBs) support for apex associations of microfinance institutions/banks to promote self-regulation, uniform standards, transparency and good corporate practices. The associations shall also serve as platform for capacity building, product development and marketing, as well as resource sharing.
The sector at the moment will require moving a step further by having a platform for all the stakeholders in microfinance sector to interact, said Godwin Ehigiamusoe, managing director, Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) Microfinance Bank.
Ehigiamusoe, who spoke with BusinessDay in an interview, said this time it may not necessarily be a formalised institution but simply a forum or a platform for stakeholders such as the regulators – CBN and NDIC, MFBs and banks, who provide rating services, credit bureaus operators, trainers and indeed other sectors of the economy that have significant relationship with the sector.
Earlier, Mathias Omeh, former president of NAMB, said the MFBs had repositioned to ensure efficient service delivery to Nigerians.
According to him, the sub-sector will continue to collaborate with other stakeholders, especially development partners, in order to attract more funds.
That the executives of the association would continue to work hard to ensure that the microfinance banking in Nigeria met international standards.
His advice to the members of the association was that they should work hard to improve on the standards already set, warning that the CBN would not hesitate to clamp down on those who failed to comply with the revised micro-finance policy.
The CBN’s policy framework for MFBs also stated that the apex associations of microfinance institutions/banks shall ensure that members of the association render returns on their operations to the CBN, and work with other stakeholders for the promotion of financial literacy and consumer protection.
Also speaking on other issues such as the performance of MFBs after the sanitisation exercise by the CBN, Ehigiamusoe said, “After the challenges experienced in the microfinance sector some few years ago, it is obvious to most stakeholders in the sector that the industry is gradually taken off.
Afterwards, making more commitment to best practices we also know that a certification training programme organised by the CBN and other training centres across the country is also making a lot of contribution to the development of capacity in the sector.
“I hope in the next few years when there shall be adequate refinancing facilities, microfinance banks will be able to leverage the fund for on-lending the sector. It will definitely make considerable impact on the economy and particularly on low income people.”