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Competition escalates in microfinance sector — Whensu

We must respond to changing dynamics —NAMBLag Chairman

By Providence Emmanuel

FOLLOWING the advent of money loan apps, an online borrowing system and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, MfB, competition may have escalated in the MfB subsector.

This was disclosed by the former President, National Association of Microfinance Banks, NAMB, Mr. Valentine Whensu.

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Also, Chairman, NAMB Lagos State Chapter, Mrs. Mojisola Garber, said it is imperative for operators to respond quickly to the changing dynamics of the market space to remain strong in the face of global pressure on their businesses. They said these during the NAMBLag’s ninth annual general meeting held in Lagos.

Whensu who called for collaboration among operators, stated: “Competition both at the credit and savings side is knocking at our door, we can overcome this when we come together and share resource and talk to ourselves. When I was leaving as national president, we had 31 million SMEs.

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“In this country, if you put the whole customer base of the MfBs, I don’t think it is up to 10 million, if you go to SMEDAN, they have over 75 thousand cooperative, each cooperative has at least a minimum of 10 members, when that is multiplied you would see the figure.

“The market is big enough to accommodate us, the service makes the difference. For us to succeed in this industry, we need to work together and share resources. Let us help Nigeria come out from the problem of access to finance and access to market, with that I believe, if we start from the grace root, the economy would be better for everybody.”

In her opening remark, Chairman NAMBLag, Mrs. Mojisola Garber, said that the economic space is shrinking which is why a lot of businesses are facing threat.

She said: “We are all aware that there is a need for us to come together to save our industry now, more than ever, the economic space is shrinking and businesses are facing great threat, it therefore behooves on us to respond quickly to the changing dynamics of the market space so that we do not go into extinction in the face of global pressure on our business.”

Garber who was performing her first assignment as chairman of the association promised to build on the achievement of her predecessor.

She said: “Indeed there is no time than now to strengthen the association and reposition it for the task ahead. The four point agenda of this exco with the theme greater height are: coordination among members; recapitalization; self regulation and coordination with regulatory authorities and capacity building.

“NAMBLag executive would continue to intensify the realization of these goals with general appeal for payment of bills. My promise as chairman is to ensure full actualization of the project we jointly embarked upon in the past, while ensuring to create more that would contribute to the elevation of the industry to new height is embarked upon as I provide the necessary leadership. I intend to build on the achievement of my predecessor in office.”

Immediate past Chairman, NAMBLag, Mr. Omololu Fatunbi, commended members for the support given to him while in office stressing that the past year has been challenging especially with recapitalization which has been on the front burner.

Omololu said members were sensitized at various engagement programmes with the CBN on MfB recapitalization, as a result, they were able to rekindle business sustainability of members through the revised share capital and two years consolidation window.

However, he said that under his leadership, they were able to achieve their goals which were focused on: capacity building; continuous regulatory and stakeholder engagement; conflict and dispute resolution; creating an active NAMBLag platform and leadership grooming and mentoring.

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