By Amaka Agwuegbo|
Barely two weeks after the general elections of the harmonized National Association for Microfinance Banks (NAMB), operators of microfinance banks have set agenda for the national executive. On 12th November, 2009 the two erstwhile associations in the microfinance banks (MFB) sector harmonized to form the National Association of Microfinance Banks, which was witnessed by officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
On April 8, 2010, the Transition Committee which was set up to midwife the Inaugural General Meeting, IGM, was dissolved and this ushered in the newly elected executives that were tasked to pilot the affairs of the MFB sector.
Speaking at the Inaugural General Meeting, the Director, Other Financial Institutions Department, OFID, Mr. Femi Fabamwo, urged the executives to serve as a galvanizing body for information and skill sharing, be an agent of dispute resolution and expose Nigerian micro-financing to the world.
â€œAs transparency and accountability are key to sectorial and nation building, it is necessary that the association is not left to people who donâ€™t have the drive, vision, clout and capacity to lead the association to its desired destination.
â€œThe association should not lose sight of the fact that it should have a reflection of the federal character so as to give it a national outlook.
â€œThe executives are to ensure that the institutions are well run because it would be a shame that, after electing officers to man the affairs of the association, their licenses would be revoked after 2 months.â€
President, National Association of Microfinance Banks, Chief Mathias Omeh, said one of the cardinal duties of the executives is to ensure that the association is self-regulatory and would infuse capacity into management and staff.
â€œThe CBN has always wanted a self-regulated association for the MFB sector, which is why we would embark on capacity building by training and retaining our management and staff.â€
This the Chairman, Ogun State-based Classic MFB, Abeokuta, Chief Sunday Sonje, agreed to, who said NAMB executives should organize trainings and seminars for operators.
â€œI expect the newly elected executives to do all that is necessary to collate information on the areas of difficulties encountered by MFBs and present such to the regulatory bodies. â€œAlso, it is expected that they should look into the possibilities of organizing trainings and seminars for Managing Directors and Chairmen of MFBs, and they should do all things possible to portray the sector in good light.â€
Also in support of a self-regulated body is Mr. Rogers Nwoke, Managing Director, Hasal MFB, Abuja, who pointed out that such would reduce the difficulties experienced by the CBN in reaching out to MFBs.
â€œIâ€™m very confident the new leadership of NAMB will do very well due to the experience they have garnered over the period of time they have been in the industry. â€œThe association should serve as a self-regulated body since the CBN has had problems of reaching out to over 900 MFBs. So, since we have a leadership, the CBN can channel any information through the executives and be sure that we would be informed.
â€œAlso, I believe the leadership will speak for the members and be heard because we lacked a strong voice due to the differences in the former associations.â€
NAMBâ€™s President, Omeh, while acknowledging that the sector has had more than its fair of bad publicity, said the association would ensure that the MFBs meet the expectations of their customers.
Agreeing to this is Mr. Ayodeji Jibadu, Managing Director, Eso-E MFB in Ogun State, who urged the leadership of NAMB to ensure that the sector is given enough positive publicity. â€œOne of the duties of the executives is to ensure that the association is given enough positive publicity that will work for the good of the sector and ensure the unity of the association.
â€œThey should ensure that MFBs are well represented before the regulatory bodies and to do things that would move the association and MFB sector forward.â€
Jibadu also charged the executives to ensure that MFBsâ€™ inputs form a major part of policy formulation while providing strong leadership and able representation of MFBs.
But the Managing Director of Shield MFB, Mr. Toluwalase Shanu, has tasked the executives to convince the regulatory bodies to increase the capital base from N20 million.
â€œThe leadership of the association should channel our opinions to the CBN regarding the practicality of some aspects of the microfinance policy since some of them canâ€™t be implemented because they are not applicable to our Nigerian economy.
â€œAlso, they should convince the regulatory bodies to increase the N20m capital base because it is not enough to do microfinance business and when we hire staff cheap due to the small capital base; we usually loose them since they are always on the lookout for better opportunities.â€|
Managing Director of Iwade MFB, Mr. Olusegun Olusoga, who expressed confidence in the ability of the executives to do well, charged the leadership to dialogue with the regulators on the way forward.Â â€œThey should also ensure that all MFBs are on the right footing so as to facilitate our growing bigger and delivering better financial services to the active poor.â€
With the elections over with, it is expected that the association and its focused leadership would further enable MFB operators perform one of its essential goal, which is to grow the Nigerian economy since microfinancing brings banking culture to the grass root.