Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday said that total credit granted by Microfinance banks to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has hit N214.32 billion as at December 31, 2016.
Mrs Tokunbo Martins, director of Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department (OFISD), made this known at the 2nd Annual Professional Training organised for Lagos state Microfinance banks operators.
The seminar was organised by National Association of Microfinance Bank, Lagos Chapter (NAMBLAG) in conjunction with CA Compusult and Associates with the theme “Sustainable Microfinance Banking in Nigeria’’.
Martins also said the total assets of the sub-sector presently stood at N365.51 billion.
She said the figures above was grossly inadequate given the country’s population of 170 million that largely consisted of people at the bottom of the social pyramid that consisted a veritable targets of the banks.
She added, “the industry is highly concentrated and unevenly distributed with the top 10 of the 991 Microfinance banks accounting for 37 per cent to 40 per cent of the total loans, deposits and assets as at March 31, 2017.
“The sub-sector is also under capitalised with high non-performing loans and characterized by a high spate of distress and failures with many institutions particularly unit Microfinance banks technically insolvent or inactive.”
Martins said the bank has also expended 12 million dollars to register the 991 Microfinance banks and some finance houses with Credit Bureaux to enable them combat dubious customers.
Martins, who was represented by Mr Bassey Ekpo, a deputy Deputy Director in OFISD ,however, commended NAMBLAG for organizing the seminar.
“I also commend the association for considering it appropriate to hold the the brainstorming seminar outside Lagos to enable maximum concentration.
“The seminar is significant in three vital aspects, firstly, it holds on the heels of the recent economic recession that hits the country.
“Secondly, the theme this year underlines the need for stakeholders to re-tool and re-invent themselves in the face of economic challenges.
“Thirdly the seminar holds at the time of economic challenge in which Microfinance banks is expected to play critical role and contribute to the on –going economic recovery efforts.”
Mr Omololu Fatunbi, chairman of NAMBLAG, in his keynote address, commended CBN for its support to the banks.
Omololu said that NAMBLAG was not unaware of the many initiatives by the apex bank to push Microfinance banks to higher level.
The NAMBLAG boss said that the he would also put all efforts to ensure all the banks in the state meet the deadline for the registration of Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Reacting to performance of the sub-sector, he said the banks in Lagos state were ready to support the Federal Government’s effort to take the country out of recession. “By God’s grace, NAMBLAG will ensure that our services are extended to all Nigerians living in Lagos State.
“We will penetrate the rural towns and villages to empower them for agricultural development.