Activities in the Micro finance Banks (MfBs) sub sector in 2014 leapfrogged in style from what it used to be. So many funds were pumped into the sub sector in the year under review and a new president elected to man the National Association of Micro finance Banks, NAMB, and awards were given for outstanding performances to some members of the association for best practices.
Launch of N220 billion MSMEDF
MSMEs are globally recognised as engines of economic growth as a result of their ability to create jobs, boost production, generate income, and reduce poverty. However, MSMEs in the country do not have the adequate financing needed to play this pivotal role and findings show that the financing gap of this sub-sector is about N9.6 trillion as at 2010.
To this end, the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) designed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be accessed via the Microfinance Banks to support MSMEs was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja this year and so far, only 20 states have applied for the fund and only nine MfBs have been given, the other eleven will get approval when they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
NAMB Elects New Officers
At its 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, NAMB elected new national officers that will run the affairs of the association from 2014 to 2016.
Those elected were Mr. Valentine Whensu as President, Mr. Peter Nwafor as 1st Vice President, Sen. Umar as 2nd Vice President. Others include Barr. Peter Oiwo as Legal Adviser and Lady Frances Becky as Treasurer.
Four point agenda
In his acceptance speech Whensu pledged to build on the achievements of the previous administration, promising to focus on four areas using the four pillars of Advocacy, Capacity Building, Networking and Self-regulation.
In a chart, he told FV: “on the issue of advocacy we have taken it to some organizations like the CBN, NDIC, AfDB, MITI and that is what earn us a say on the MSMEs council. We have also brought to their notice that we should have a SMEDAN council in all the 36 states, where NAMB would have a representative in all those states.
“In terms of capacity building, most of our states are doing their capacity building in order to improve on the space gap on this sub sector. In terms of networking we have networked with some organizations that matters to see how we can move NAMB forward.
“We hope to do more after now because we are looking at how we can bring in fund into this sub sector so that this business can be done well and also that people will have access to fund at cheap rate so that they can do their businesses,” he said.
FMO Invest EUR 7.5 million in LAPO MfB
Other activities that enhanced the sub sector’s effort in the year is the agreement signed by LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited and FMO, the Netherlands Development Finance Company, over a local debt facility of 7.5 million euro.
The partnership would help in promoting financial inclusion among the grassroots and the loan has a five years tenor.
LAPO MfB is owned by Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe as a non-profit microfinance institution, in the late 1980s to provide financial and social empowerment services to members of low income households. The bank transformed into a licensed bank in 2010 and currently is one of the leading banks in Nigeria, with presence in 27 states and a client base of over one million.
Accion MfB bags EFInA, LEAD award, others
Other events that impacted positive into the sub sector ranges from various awards received, where Accion Microfinance Bank stand out with seveeral of the awards in the year under focus.
The awards include: Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) Award for the financial service provider that has deepened financial inclusion in Nigeria in the microfinance category. The announcement was made at the EFInA Financial Inclusion Conference which took place in Lagos. Assessment was made in 6 areas including Customer Impact, Reach to Un-served and Underserved Segments, Scale, Financial Inclusion Strategy, Learning and Consumer Protection.
Also, the 2014 Lagos Enterprise Award (LEAD) for Best Microfinance Bank of the Year and this is the fourth consecutive year the bank has won the award. The announcement was made at the LEAD Awards ceremony which took place in Lagos.
In the same vein, the bank emerged as the LEAD Centenary MFB of the Year for its effect on the socio-economic development of Nigeria. The recognition is in acknowledgment of the bank’s contributions to sustainable development, commitment to financial inclusion and impact on the nation in general.
By Providence Obuh, Vanguard (Nigeria)
Apr 23, 2010 26
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