Recognising that capacity building is imperative for the operation of microfinance banks, the new leadership of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Lagos Chapter, has moved to close the skill gap and improve on the sub-sector’s confidence.
Clara Oloniniyi, managing director of Infinity Microfinance Bank, who emerged as the new chairman of NAMBLAG, at the election held during the 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association in Lagos, acknowledged that the association, had in the past, organised training for junior staff and managing directors of microfinance banks/microfinance institutions in Lagos State, and affirmed the new leadership’s intent to continue the trend.
Oloniniyi, took over from Valentine Whensu, who is currently the national president of NAMB. She told journalists shortly after she was elected that her administration will take serious, issues of capacity building, adding that operators will be meeting from time to time to enhance skilled personnel and reposition the sub-sector for better results.
The new chairman called on the operators in the state to collaborate with her to reposition microfinance banks as well as the association for the better. She was optimistic that microfinance banks in the State will continue to lead others. To achieve this, she said there is need for the association to embark on enlightenment campaign, such that, more people can embrace microfinance banking.
“So far, we have tried on capacity building by training the junior and middle class workers in MFBs. What we are planning now is to bring facilitators that will train senior managers on how an ideal microfinance bank should operate. We will also invite some operators to narrate their experience in the microfinance industry and how they were able to survive turbulent times,” Clara told journalists at the AGM.
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Apart from capacity building, the new leadership plans to leverage on some policies of his predecessor, to create awareness on microfinance, a development that will allow MFBs enjoy more patronage. It also plans to encourage members to submit application to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to access the N220bn MSME fund.
According to Oloniniyi, “There is a bright future for microfinance banks. We are going to bring everybody together. There is not going to division anymore. We are going to work as a team to move the association forward to the next level.
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The chapter has always been above. We are going to work hard to make sure that we sustain that position and the only way we can sustain that position is by bringing all our members together, make them have a sense of belonging. We have to improve on the image of the association so that microfinance bank as well as the association will be acceptable to the public.”
Speaking at the occasion, Valentine Whensu, president of NAMB his administration will not capacity building for granted, adding that, operators will be meeting from time to time to enhance their experience on how to better manage their banks.
Recounting the achievements of the Association when he was the chairman, he said the association was able to organise 10 different trainings, workshops and manpower development for microfinance operators. He commended the CBN and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for providing facilitators for the association to enhance its capacity building programme.
In order to improve on the scope, quality and depth of the capacity building effort, Whensu said the national association will continue to collaborate with Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), amongst other bodies to achieve this.
The election saw Owolabi Hakeem emerged as the vice chairman; Wole Ogunbowo as general secretary; Chinedu Nwogem as assistant general secretary; while Johnson Ehiks was elected as public relation officer (PRO). Bimpe Ogunleye was voted in as the treasurer, while Ayo Adeonipekun becomes the financial secretary.