Stories by PROVIDENCE OBUH
The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, has said that microfinancing in the country is commercialised.
Meanwhile, he described “women” as a big industry, urging banks to take advantage by initiating programmes targeted at them.
Sanusi said this at a lecture. “This economy needs low interest money, we need it for infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and others. In the last five years, the central bank has put on the table, N800 billion single digit long-term funding for these areas. We put up a N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) called micro enterprises.
“Microfinance has become too commercialised, there is need around microfinance that somehow, if you don’t give poor people education, healthcare, agriculture, if you allow a private sector microfinance bank to lend the money at 40 per cent interest rate, they will get out of value chain.
“Microfinance only works within a programme development environment, what we did was to provide the funding for MfBs to on-lend at very low rate of interest but tied to developmental projects, agricultural training, capital, community training, etc. We go to training centre, we loan to the graduates of the centre but 60 per cent will to go to rural women.
“I want banks to come up with programmes that are targeted at women, out of all the people who have borrowed from Nigeria banks today, how many of the businesses are owned by women, let them research and find out the nature of businesses that women go into. Every weekend in Lagos, there is a big wedding and they buy Aso Ebi.
How many women get access to credit? How many of the banks have thought of how the aso ebi market is financed. We can look into that business and make it grow.”