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Experts Want Consideration In Microfinance Market



Experts in the financial sector have called for consolidation in microfinance market, if it wants to compete with other around the world.

Mr Michael Barleon, managing director of AB microfinance bank while canvassing for consolidation said, the process should be a situation whereby the bigger microfinance banks consume the smaller ones, to build strong capital base.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given approval to over 900 operators to operate in the microfinance market. Because of this numbers, over 200 MFBs, representing 22 per cent of the number reside in Lagos State, even though the apex bank has yet to halt MF License.

Reacting to this, Barleon said, though the idea of CBN might be encouraging because of the rate of poverty in the country, he however moved for institutions that are financially strong to empower more lives.

He state that the number of microfinance institutions in the country is too large and are performing below expectation.

He believes that consolidation process will bring about microfinance institutions with strong capital base. Institutions with strong capital base, he said, is capable of making meaningful impact, urging microfinance firms to upgrade their capital strength to really extend financial assistance to the people.

While stating that the N20 million capital base for a unit-based MFB is too small, he called on the regulatory authority to review the capital base, such that, institutions would not face illiquidity, just as it is happening in the industry.

The bank boss however said, after the consolidation must have been concluded, institutions in the market would be very strong to withstand the test of time.

Strong capital base at times, he stressed, may not achieve the desired result if management in place is fraudulent and therefore called for good credit and loan management system from operators.

Deposit mobilisation and good loan recovery, he said should be the two core instruments to drive financially strong MFBs to the land of promise.

According to him, if you have good deposit mobilisation and loan recovery teams coupled with strong capital base, there is strong indication that you are going to dictate the market.

He therefore advised his colleagues to not only build strong capital base, they should also streamline their products to meet the yearnings and aspiration of their customers.

This, he hinted, is key to success in the industry.

Reacting on why some microfinance institutions failed in Nigeria, he noted that their inability to fine tune well packaged products to meet the demands of their customers led to their downfall.

To him, “when you don’t have a good credit product to sell, it makes it difficult to grow a financial institution.

There are a lot of MFIs but as far as I understand, they work with completely different products and concepts, with many of them asking for voluntary saving but are very hesitant to grant loans”.

Also canvassing for consolidation of operators in microfinance industry, Mr Ismail Radwan, senior economist, World Bank, Nigeria says, this is necessary to reduce the number of MFBs to a considerable size capital of creating meaningful impacts.

He therefore called for merger and acquisition in the micro financial sub sector such that a MFB could financially strong and sound, thus having many branches.

“I believe there should be financially strong MFBs with many branches rather than having many microfinance banks with little or no branches”, he observed.

This, he said, would make monitoring and supervision simple and less stressful for the CBN.

The World Bank Chief pointed out that the present system would not give room for rapid growth and development as it is been witnessed in other microfinance markets worldwide.

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NASRDA Moves To Promote Space Technology In S’East



In its quest to boost creativeness of space technology and its innovations among Nigerian youths, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) through its Southeast Advanced Space Technology Applications Laboratory (SE-ZASTAL) has commenced a turn-round space technology applications promotion among the secondary schools in the region.
The Coordinator, SE-ZASTAL, Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Mr. Andrew Onwusulu, made this known while declaring open a training outreach held for 442 students at the main hall, Federal Government College, Okposi, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
According to him, “the space applications promotion outreach was part of activities designed for the secondary students to sharpen their intellectual capability in science and technology innovations”.
Tagged “Capacity building for young minds: Benefits of Space and Technology Applications”, the outreach, he explained, “will forever remain in the minds of the students who participated in the training based on series of lectures and skills benefited”.
The principal of the School, Mr. Frank O.A. Omale, in his opening address thanked the agency’s new DG, Dr Mathew Adepoju, through the SE-ZASTAL Coordinator, Mr. Onwusulu Andrew, who outlined the significance of the training as a means of expanding the knowledge of Space Science to the people at the grassroots.
Mr. Omale urged the students to be serious with their studies, describing it as a great opportunity for FGC, Okposi, to be selected first, on the list of the schools mapped out for such training in the Southeast States.
In his remark, the Principal of the School, Mr Omale Frank, observed that no nation can survive the present struggles without  adequate involvement in space technology and its innovations.
He, therefore, charged Science students to rededicate their time to deep reading and aligning with current trends in technology, which he said remain very pivotal to national development.
Other instructors which included Engr. Chinedu Akarugwo, focused on the topic, “Basic Space Science and Technology of SE-ZASTAL”, and Miss Precious Ugwu with the “Space Careers”, as well as Engr. Agu John-Paul Okechukwu, who taught on, “Understanding our environment thorough earth observation”, all highlighted the impacts of Space Science researches and innovations in the environment.
During the training session, the students also had opportunities to access the SE-ZASTAL’s facilities to test, and were also exposed to the activities of NASDRA in other States, such as The National Centre for Remote Sensing, Jos, Centre for Basic Space Science, Nsukka, Enugu State; Centre for Atmospheric Research, Anyigba, Kogi State, Ile-Ife, Lagos.
Some of the students who shared their experiences after the lecture, including an SSS2 student, Okorie Ifeanyichukwu Timothy, described the training as “well-organised”, noting that it would stimulate students’ interest in the technical aspects of promotion and its applications.
Another student, Ogbonna Confidence A., urged the government to support teachers and researchers in the agency, expressing her willingness to take her time to visit the Agency’s headquarters and other NASRDA offices during holidays.
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SEC Directs Capital Market Operators To Implement ERM Framework 



The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has mandated all capital market operators to implement an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework that aligns with internationally recognised standards.
In a statement issued on the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the SEC said these standards include those set by the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations of the Treadway Commission, the International Organisation for Standardisation, and the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations.
It added that this initiative aims to bolster risk management practices within the capital market, minimize systemic impacts, and safeguard stakeholders’ interests.
“All capital market operators are hereby directed to implement an enterprise risk management framework that conforms to international standards, such as the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations of the Treadway Commission, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO 31000), Financial Action Task Force Recommendations and any other internationally recognised risk management standards.
“Adoption of comprehensive risk management practices is imperative for minimising systemic impact and safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders”, the statement explained.
According to the commission, the new ERM framework requires CMOs to consider their operational structure, business activities, client demographics, products, services, and delivery mechanisms.
It noted that the framework must include a comprehensive risk governance structure with clear roles and responsibilities, including the establishment of a risk management committee.
To ensure accountability and oversight, the SEC directed CMOs to define their risk appetite, tolerance statements, and consistent reporting to senior management and the Board of Directors.
It added that organisations must implement risk-awareness programmes to cultivate a culture of risk management throughout their operations.
“This directive is aimed at strengthening the implementation of risk-based supervision, including anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures in the capital market.
“Consequently, all CMOs are required to submit a Board-approved risk management policy (selectable and searchable PDF format) on or before September 30, 2024, via email at to obtain a ‘No Objection'”, it stated.
The commission noted that the directive was part of its broader strategy to enhance risk-based supervision in the capital market, including measures for anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism, and countering proliferation financing.
It also asked CMOs to submit an annual risk profile by January 31 of each year.
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Firm Combats Fraud Through Data Technology 



A digital technological firm, the Visa,  has concluded plans to protect sensitive data for individuals, saying its technology helped to save about $650 million that could have been lost to fraudsters  in 2023.
A statement from the firm revealed that the technology, known as Visa tokens, generated more than $40 billion in incremental e-commerce revenue for businesses globally.
The statement added that Visa would continue to enhance security across the payment ecosystem through the technology, known as tokenization.
“Visa, a world leader in digital payments, recently announced a significant milestone achieved by its tokenization technology, revealing that Visa tokens have generated more than $40 billion in incremental ecommerce revenue for businesses globally and saved $650 million in fraud in the last year”, the statement explained..
Visa also announced it has issued more than 10 billion tokens since the technology’s launch in 2014.
“Over the last 10 years, Visa has further enhanced security across the payment ecosystem through tokenization, a technology that replaces sensitive personal data with a cryptographic key that conceals sensitive payment data.
“Tokenization can be embedded into any device, making digital payments more secure while being virtually useless to scammers.
“Currently, 29% of all transactions processed by Visa use tokens, reflecting their widespread adoption and the trust consumers place in this secure payment method.
“Tokenization technology has also caused a six-basis point increase in payment approval rates globally. Overall, tokenization can reduce the rate of fraud by up to 60%, providing businesses with more successful transactions and offering much-needed peace of mind to consumers and merchants of all sizes.
“Visa, announced the milestone live onstage at Money20/20 in Amsterdam recently, issued its billionth token in 2020. Due in part to the shift to digital during the pandemic, the adoption of tokens accelerated significantly in the last four years.
“Today, over 8,000 issuers are enabled for tokenization, with over 200 markets empowered with the technology globally. In the last 12 months, over 1.5 million eCommerce merchants transacted with Visa Tokens every day.
“A recent Visa survey revealed that less than one third of consumers globally feel in control of their data, and only slightly more than one third fully understand how their data is used.
“However, Tokenization can unlock a whole new era of personalization and security, one where consumers control their data and approve when and where it can be shared for a more personalized experience.
“In the not-too-distant future, Visa data tokens could help merchants and commerce platforms use your data in a way that is both transparent and gives you control, meaning you decide who gets access to your data (and when they no longer do) as well as how your data will be used.
“Powered by AI, Visa data tokens let consumers view, consent to, and revoke data sharing access, right from their banking app”, the statement posited.
Corlins Walter
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