By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – Employment and investment opportunities have been opened to rural dwellers in Southern and Central Senatorial zones of Plateau State as Light Microfinance bank, a local financial institution concerned with the economic empowerment of the “active poor” in the State opened businesses in the zones.
The Microfinance bank, owned by the Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN has since establishment in 2011 provided business, asset, health assistance and property development loan facilities among others to scores of customers across Plateau and other neighbouring States with a view of empowering the rural poor and making them economically independent.
Speaking at the commissioning of the micro-finance bank’s business outlets in Kurgwi, Qua’an Pan Local government area and in Gindiri, Mangu Local local government area respectively, the Acting Board Chairman of the micro-finance bank, Bulus Gwashi said the microfinance bank is more concerned with the economic well-being of the local population now that the country is in a recession.
He noted that there is need to assist government in redeeming the country from the current economic hardship especially at the grassroots hence the establishment of the branches to help drive government’s cashless policy as well as its diversification programme in order to grow the local economy in the State.
Qua’an Pan and Mangu local government areas which are agrarian areas have suffer inadequate financial institutions and residents expressed happiness at the presence of the microfinance bank saying beside providing employment for some people, it will give them opportunity to keep the money in safer environment.
“Kurgwi community is a busy place because of the farming and business activities here. Only one commercial bank has a mini-branch in the area that hardly meets the needs of the villagers due to congestion. The bank’s launch in the area is therefore a great relief to the people”, a resident said.
Similarly, at the launch of the branch in Gindiri town in Mangu LGA, a traditional ruler, Sum Pyem, Da Charles Mato, represented by a District Head in the area, Da Yunusa Yaktor said the community had suffered the lack of a financial institution to support them in their activities due to financial illiteracy but appreciated the coming of the microfinance bank to their domain believing that the financial lives and awareness of the people would improve.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the microfinance bank, Danjuma Tat said the launch of the two units is part of the microfinance bank’s expansion programme aimed at improving lives at the rural level stressing, “This gives us an opportunity to reach out to people at the grassroots and improve their livelihood. We see it as a win-win situation. They will gain financially and we will also gain in the attainment of our objectives.”