By Amaka Agwuegbo
The national leadership of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) has said NAMB is the only MFB association authorised by the Central Bank of Nigeria to oversee the activities of microfinance banks (MFBs) in the country.
Reacting to the recent pronouncement of the Association for the Survival/Sustenance of Microfinance Institutions in Nigeria to source for funds for the sector, the president of NAMB, Chief Mathias Omeh, said the formation of another association negates the essence of the harmonization of the former MFB groups.
According to him, â€œArticle 9 of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between former National Association of Microfinance Banks and the Association of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria at the harmonization states that â€˜after the execution of this deed by the appointed officers with the satisfaction of the Central Bank ofNigeria (CBN), it shall be an offence for any person or group of persons to form another association of microfinance operators.
â€œWhile Article 10 states that NAMB shall be the only registered and official association of all microfinance operators in Nigeria with powers to deal with the CBN and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
â€œI donâ€™t have anything else to say but to warn members to desist from forming another association as it will lead to division in the sector.
â€œThis is because MFB operators are regulated by the CBN and NDIC, but those other groups like co-operatives, NGO, are not regulated, therefore, they donâ€™t have a platform to be monitored by the CBN and NDIC.”
It would be recalled that the conveyer of the Association for the Survival/Sustenance of Microfinance Institutions in Nigeria, Pastor Glory Abrefera, said the group, which is all encompassing and would involve MFBs, co-operative societies and NGOs, will be tasked with the responsibility of seeking funds to sustain the microfinance sector.
â€œMembership of the association is going to consist of 95 per cent of MFIs while interested MFBs would form the remaining 5 per cent.
â€œThe essence of forming this association is to give us a voice because if we 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.â€
Abrefera 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.