By Providence Emmanuel
WHAT are your views about the sub-sector especially now that the first quarter is almost concluded?
I expect the sub sector to be stronger in implementing the financial inclusion strategy for Nigeria and this would be done through the agent banking model. I expect that the association would be able to put in place and implement our own agent banking strategy that would enhance the sub sector into achieving its financial inclusion strategy. I expect more engagement with government agencies that have economic empowerment programmes for our target market, the economically active poor.
What is the subsector doing with regards to the CBN’s circular on recapitalisation, among others?
Since the circular came out, we have been having engagement meetings trying to look at options available to us. Above that, we have made representations to the central bank directly, on the issue of recapitalisation because if MfB is suppose to do financial inclusion, we understand all the challenges and issues which actually has led to the increase in the capital base with different classes of MfBs. But we are saying there is a point to which you increase to that you entirely bury the idea of microfinance. For us in the industry, we have made representations at the CBN, we are doing advocacy through stakeholders who are close to the sector to also speak about this matter. We are expecting a downward review of the new policy and the second thing is that, we are discussing in various ways with CBN.
Our position is that, if we are supposed to be a channel for financial inclusion, which is the way it is all over the world, whatever CBN wants to do with the NIRSAL MfB that it is putting in place, our position is that you cannot be a policy maker and policy driver. Instead of setting up another national MfB, why would the CBN not look at the NIPOST offices and say NAMB, how can you collaborate with NIPOST offices to enter into the rural area and empower the people?
The commercial banks are supposed to look at the MfB sector and empower them to affect the economy because we are located in the rural area where these people are. They do not have the capacity to go down low at a go. Imagine any of the deposit banks having 20 to 30 unit MfBs under them, facilitating them with all necessary requirement to go and function in these rural areas. Do you imagine the development that go on in the community areas. Also, they don’t need to spend money to go there; they are only driving the right channel to achieve the goal there. That is the way it is supposed to operate.
Microfinance banking is our area of specialisation, it is not their own, we are supposed to be their area of target; they are supposed to empower us to achieve the financial inclusion goal of the federal government.