By Amaka Agwuegbo
The harmonization of the defunct associations in the microfinance (MFB) sector has been described as a step in the right direction toward the development of the sector.
Speaking recently to journalists, a member of the five-man caretaker committee set up by the CBN to oversee the affairs of MFBs in the interim, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, said the merging of the two associations in the MFB sector would propel the sector to succeed and build more public confidence in MFBs.
â€œOne of the things that the committee feels would make the industry succeed and build public confidence is to have a strong association. We want to focus on building capacity in terms of the MFBs that operate as well as those who want to access MFB services.
â€œWe also want to influence government policies so that it would be conducive for u to run MFBs and to spread the knowledge of microfinance so that banks can start extending credit and be able to talk to international donors who want to develop Nigerian MFB sector. I think these are very important roles in the development of the industry in Nigeria.â€
It would be recalled that the CBN, on the 12th of November, witnessed the merger of the National Association of Microfinance Banks of Nigeria, (NAMFBIN) and Association of Microfinance Bank in Nigeria (AMBN) to become the Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), which is the only authorized body to represent MFBs in Nigeria.
According to the MoU signed by the representatives of the two associations, previous transactions remain void and of no effect where such actions are inimical to the interest and continuous existence of the new association since the two associations have merged.
The MoU reads in part: â€œThat NAMB shall be the only registered and official association of all microfinance operators in Nigeria with powers to deal with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).â€
â€œThat all assets of the two associations shall from the date of this agreement now become that of NAMB.
â€œThat all licensed MFBs in Nigeria shall, with effect from the date of this deed of agreement, become members of this association upon registration in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of NAMB.
â€œThat with effect from the date of this deed of agreement, all liabilities of the former two associations shall not be binding on the new association except as approved by the national executive council of NAMB.
â€œThat by the formation of NAMB, all members of the former two associations shall by virtue of this deed of agreement, become registered members of NAMB in so far as they have proof of membership of any of the two defunct associations.
â€œThat, by the execution of the deed, it shall be caused to be conducted an election of new officers to be responsible for the management of NAMB.
â€œThat, after the execution of this deed by the appointed officers with the satisfaction of the Central Bank of Nigeria, it shall be an offence for any person or group of persons to form another association of microfinance bank operators.
A five-man caretaker committee, which is chaired by Mr. Matthias Omeh, has been appointed to oversee the affairs of the new association until its January 29, 2010, general elections that will produce officials to represent the association is conducted.
Other members of the committee are Otunba Olatunde Olowu, Mallam Ibrahim Sidi Bamalli, Mrs. Olubunmi Lawson and Mr. Jude Nosagie.