By Amaka Agwuegbo
MicrofinanceÂ banks have been identified as a critical factor to achieving the nation’s goal of poverty eradication by year 2020.|
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI) Microfinance Bank, Mr. Kevin Iyamu, who affirmed that the sector is capable of covering majority of the active poor by year 2020, thereby, creating numerous job opportunities and reducing poverty.
Speaking with Vanguard, Mr. Iyamu said that with more microfinance banks springing up and with more people being able to pay back loans, the sector shall cover the market by 2020, which can be achieved by addressing the problems of lack of access to credit by entrepreneurs who do not have access to commercial banks and strengthening the weak capacity of such entrepreneurs.
According to him, â€œWhen you say â€˜active poorâ€™, it means those who can take loans and repay them. If the customers can fulfil their part of the bargain by repaying the loans, there is no reason why we canâ€™t cover majority of the active poor by 2020.â€
One of the objectives of the microfinance policy is to make financial services accessible to a large segment of the potentially productive Nigerian population, which otherwise would have had little or no access to financial services and empower them to contribute to rural transformation.
The BoI MFB boss further explained that the essence of the sector is to make credit available to micro, small and medium enterprises and also provide savings avenues for them.
Specifically, microfinance banks would provide diversified, affordable and dependable financial services to the â€˜active poorâ€™ in a competitive manner that would enable them undertake and develop long-term sustainable entrepreneurial activities.
Also, they would mobilize savings for intermediation, create employment opportunities and increase the productivity of the â€˜active poorâ€™, raise individual household income and enhance systematic and focused participation of the active poor in socio-economic development.
Speaking further, Iyamu said that as a subsidiary of the Bank of Industry, the BoI MFB lends to those in the productive sectors of manufacturing, processing, etc.
â€œThe microfinance sector has been able to contribute to the development of small businesses and our impact on the real sector of the economy can be felt. This we have done by contributing to poverty alleviation by enabling people to create jobs for themselves.