The National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) at the weekend asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide a special N250 billion intervention fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to support ongoing economic recovery agenda of the government.
The outgoing President of the association, Mr Rogers Nwoke, made the call during the association’s Zoom-poweered 10th AGM in Abuja.
Nwoke, who commended the apex bank on its sundry measures to fast-track the nation’s economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, pointed out that since the N50 billion intervention fund now being disbursed by NIRSAL MFB cannot adequately meet the needs of MSMEs nationwide, the need for additional funding for the enterprises had become imperative. The chartered banker said in view of the critical roles MFBs on the MSMEs and micro development of the country, the proposed N250 billion should be disbursed through qualified MFBs.
He said: “The role of government in microfinance is to provide an enabling environment for private capital to thrive and where government chooses to intervene in funding, such intervention must should be appropriately distributed to critical stakeholders.
“Let me use this opportunity to renew our request for a N250 billion to MSMEs to be disbursed through qualifying microfinance banks”, the NAMB President added. This is even as he urged the CBN to suspend MFBs’ capitalization deadline to 2023 by which time the apex bank would be in a position to properly appraise the level of capital that support the operations of all MFBs in the country. In addition, Nwoke also canvassed the need for the apex bank to urgently review the prudential guidelines to govern the risk classification of MFB loans within the context of the COVID-19-triggered economic lockdown. He said doing this would help in forestalling quick erosion of the existing capital of MFBs and enable them to sustain their grassroots financial inclusion drive in the country.