By Amaka Agwuegbo
The Managing Director of Lift Above Poverty Organisation, LAPO, Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, has said that microfinance institutions are not a cure-all for poverty that is being experienced in the country.
Speaking on assessing the impact of MFIs on the poor, Ehigiamusoe said, world-over, MFIs are supported by government for them to be able to make meaningful impact on the customers.
“Though microfinance is intervention in poverty alleviation due to the low income of people, but world-over, MFIs are not cure-all for poverty but should be supported by government and other institutions for their impact to be felt.
“This is why in the policy framework of MFBs made room for the establishment of a Development Fund for microfinance banks.
“Though LAPO has 335,000 active customers, but it is very clear that relative to the level of poverty in the country, we are just scratching the surface “Since the profiles of the customers of MFIs are made up of low income people that are excluded from the services of commercial banks, it is quite difficult to assess the impact of MFIs using conventional impact assessment tools because they are not always adequate to capture the level of impact being made by the MFIs.
“Assuming a poor woman who is only able to send only one of her child to school is assisted by an MFI to send the others to school, a lot of impact has been made in that family, though people may not notice the impact.”
Ehigiamusoe also commended the commitment of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in making microfinance work for the active poor by embarking on the certification programme for microfinance practitioners.
“The certification programme for MFI operators would train us on the principles of microfinancing, thus, enable us to positively impact on and grow the sector and nation.”
Established in January 1986, Lift Above Poverty Organisation, LAPO, is a pro-poor social organization that seeks to promote economic empowerment through the provision of financial services on a sustainable basis.