By Providence Emmanuel
LAPO Microfinance Bank has called for increased adoption of sustainable finance practices by operators in the MfB subsector.
Managing Director LAPO MfB, Dr Godwin Ehigiamusoe made this call at a conference on sustainable finance themed: “Enhancing Sustainable Finance in the Microfinance Subsector” organized by the bank in collaboration with Global Alliance for Banking on Values.
Noting that the awareness on sustainable finance is still very low in the subsector, he stated that the conference is basically to promote the practice of sustainable finance and banking values especially among microfinance banks.
He said: “Over the years, sustainable finance has been a topical issue among the commercial and development banks. MfB industry is growing with a large number of institutions and also considering the nature of their clients who are active on the environment, I feel that there is need for MfBs to adopt some of these principles as LAPO has done for the past six years.
“For the past six years we have started implementing the key element of sustainable finance, which is, targeting superior financial performance, preservation of the environment and enhancing the quality of our people, client and staff. We put structures in place to do that and we have been able to make progress, perhaps because we started before any other person, we could also be considered as champion.
“We have achieved paperless transaction in all our board meetings, management meetings, review meetings, we also have been able to track the number and value of paper that would have been used, we discovered we have been able to save millions in doing that. We have been able to ascertain how much we are saving on a monthly basis especially putting the digital devices in place,” he said.
Also, President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, Mr. Uche Olowu, said the role of the council is to build the capacity of the banking community on the need for sustainable banking principles.
Olowu stated: “The role of the CIBN is to capacitalize the banking community on the need for sustainable banking principles. To that extent, we have entered into collaboration with international institution such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“We are rolling out certificate in 2020. It is critical to capacitize the people to understand and appreciate what it is all about and then, they can now become the vanguard to champion this movement.”
Executive Director, Global Alliance for Banking on Values, GABV, Dr Marcos Eguiguren, said it is a milestone for Nigeria to have a bank such as LAPO organizing conference on sustainable finance especially in the microfinance industry.
He added that the countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region especially Nigeria are thriving when it comes to mainstream banking to sustainable finance stream.
Eguiguren said: “Every time I visit Sub-Saharan Africa, I feel a momentum and energy on promoting a free economy in the financial industry. But sometimes I don’t see it in other world especially in developed economy.
“I feel Sub-Saharan African especially Nigeria is thriving when it comes to mainstream banking to sustainable finance stream. The momentum in this part of the world is very high,” he said.