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Lagos kicks off micro-credit scheme for councils

By Amaka Agwuegbo
The chairman of the Lagos State Microfinance Institutions (LASMI), Mr. Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy, has said that the recently launched Eko Micro-credit Scheme in Apapa-Iganmu and Oshodi LCDAs would be replicated in other local governments of the state.

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Speaking with Vanguard, Alabi-Macfoy said the scheme, which would be a partnership among LASMI, the various local governments and the partnering microfinance banks (MFBs), is aimed at alleviating poverty at the grass-root level.

“For any bank to partner with us, we have to look at their financials to determine their capabilities to co-fund the scheme. This is because of the N40m to be disbursed, LASMI would bring N10m, the local government would bring N10, while the partnering bank would balance the remaining N20m.
“This would be given to them as loans at a very reduced interest rate for an initial period of 2 years, and it is expected that within the 2 years, the loan must have been rolled over 5 times to enable more beneficiaries partake.”
Alibi-Macfoy pointed out three ways in which would-be beneficiaries can access the funds.

“They can come to LASMI, the Ministry of Women”s Affairs and Poverty Alleviation or the partnering MFBs. We don”t have any special preference for anyone as long as the person is meaningfully engaged and resides in Lagos State.
“This is to make it easier for us to recoup the loans because the banks would be in a better position to assess the participant to determine if they really need assistance.”

The LASMI chairman also urged MFBs on the need to extend financial services to rural and semi-rural areas so as to promote poverty alleviation.

“Most actively engaged poor people dwell in rural and semi-rural areas where the impacts of these MFBs are not felt. It would be of great benefit if the banks could open up offices in these places to help cultivate savings culture among the people.”The Eko Micro-credit Scheme was launched to develop trade and alleviate poverty


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