The outgoing President of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Mr Rogers Nwoke has made the call for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide a special N250 billion intervention fund for micro, small and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to support ongoing economic recovery agenda of the government.
He made the call during the association’s 10th Annual General Meeting held virtually in Abuja.
Nwoke, who commended the central 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 extend the MFBs’ recapitalisation deadline to 2023, by which time the regulator 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 CBN 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.
CBN’s Director, OFISD, Mrs. Nkiru Asiegbu, who was represented by Mr. Michaeal Daliop, also lauded the association, particularly for promoting grassroots economic growth and assured the leadership of the readiness of the CBN to consider its recommendations on the way to adequately fund and grow the informal sub-sector through joint collaboration in order to build a formidable economy.
In his own comments at the AGM, the CBN Director, Development Finance Department, represented by Dr. Ada Momoh, commended the NAMB for its efforts to deepen financial inclusion, particularly through funding of MSMEs over the past few years in spite of the risks.