Microfinance Banks Re-unite To Form NAMB
Registered microfinance banks in the country, which have been operating under two umbrellas, have decided to bury their differences and forge ahead under one association.
This followed a meeting of the two factions the National Association of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria in Lagos recently.
They are now to be called the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) with a caretaker committee put in place to organise election in January 2010.
The caretaker committee is headed by Chief Mathias Omeh, Chairman of Nsukka Microfinance Bank, and also has Barrister Jude Nosagie, managing director Prosperity Microfinance Bank Benin Mrs Bunmi Lawson, managing director of Accion Lagos, as members.
Operators, who spoke on the reunion, said it is a landmark development which is also in the best interest of operators, as they would now be able to address knotty issues confronting the country’s microfinance sector as a united entity.
In his acceptance speech, Omeh, the caretaker chairman, promised that the caretaker committee would not stay a day longer than the January 29, 2010 deadline give it to conduct an election. He described the coming together as a big success, saying it is one thing they have earnestly looked forward to, and that delegates were happy at the outcome of the meeting.
“We are all happy that the meeting succeeded. In fact, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has challenged us to prepare for our AGM in January”, Omeh said.
He said the challenges facing mega banks at their level, and bemoaned the fact that over 65 per cent of Nigerian population do not have access to the services provided by mega banks.
This, he said, places a responsibility on the MFBs to reach this percentage both in the urban and rural areas.
He said aside the challenge of infrastructure, MFBs also have to contend with capacity challenges and are expected to package and deliver beneficial pro-poor products.
Mrs Bunmi Lawson, managing director of Accion who is also a member of the new caretaker committee also described the meeting as a landmark, adding that Nigerians would soon begin to see the fruit manifest.
She said one area the association would focus on now is the area of capacity building, adding it is key to the survival of the sector.
“Part of what the association would need to do next is to assist MFBs in capacity building. We intend to raise a pool of funds to be able to tackle this” she said.
Lawson asserted that if the infrastructure problem in the country is addressed, MFBs would have more funds and the poor would be able to feel their impact.
“The issue of liquidity is hampering the operations of MFBs, and we have limited options to increasing liquidity, what remains is for MFBs to build up that confidence to attract more funding. That is why the association we have formed today is very imperative,” she said.
The coming of the federal government’s microfinance policy, not only created room for new MFBs to come on stream but also mandated existing community banks to convert to MFBs.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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