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Microfinance institutions move to save sector

ByAmaka Agwuegbo
A group of micro- finance institutions, comprising microfinance banks, co-operative societies and NGOs, has come together to seek funds for the survival of the microfinance sector.

Speaking under the aegis of Association for the Survival/Sustenance of Microfinance Institutions in Nigeria, the conveyer, Pastor Glory Abrefera, said the essence of forming the association is not fight the existing association in the MFB sector, but to seek for ways to better source for funds to sustain the sector.

“This union is coming at a time when our national economy is in grave danger and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approach to the banking reforms has left us with no micro sub-sector.

“We have lost almost 75 per cent of the licensed MFBs in the past 8 months while the remaining 25 per cent hang on the balance as they merely come to open their offices in anticipation of a miracle which has not come.

“The essence of forming this association is to give us a voice because the present union in the sector is pro-government. Since we intend to have the numerical strength, it would be easier for us as a group to source for funds from foreign donor agencies like IMF, IFC, etc., than for one bank to source for the same funds.”

Abrefera, who is also the Chairman of Solace MFB, said the objectives of the Association for the Survival/Sustenance of Microfinance Institutions in Nigeria, include, but are not limited to: As Nigeria is the only country some of us have and call our own, this association should be able to tell our own side of the story to the rest of the world.

“To have the numerical strength to source for offshore loans through the various windows available which will help in recapitalizing our distressed MFBs and also loan-able funds for our micro credit outfits and co-operatives.
“The association will brainstorm on how to claim back the damaged name of Nigerian MFBs and help members that are illegally detained by either the Police or EFCC as long as such members have not been indicted by any panel or the CBN.”

The conveyor urged government and the regulatory bodies to fund the microfinance banks to enable them discharge their duties.

“The credit rating of our country is at its lowest, and the General Gussau’s outburst Rather than government or CBN giving funds to commercial banks, such funds could be channeled to MFBs by giving each bank N500m, and you’ll be amazed at how rapidly our economy would improve within the next five years.”


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