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Number of licensed microfinance banks reduces by 12.7% in 1 year

The number of licensed microfinance banks in Nigeria dropped by 12.7 per over the past t one year.

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The number of licensed microfinance banks across the 36 states of the country and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have dropped by 12.7 per cent in almost one year.

According to report that was published recently on the CBN website, the number of licensed microfinance banks in the country dropped from 1,028 in May 2018, to 898.

What may have influenced the drop?

Recall that the apex bank had earlier made known its intention to revoke the licences of some microfinance banks. As earlier reported by Nairametrics, the CBN, last year announced its plans to revoke the operating licences of 182 financial institutions operating in the country.

This announcement came barely a week after its revoke Skye Bank’s operating license.

The affected MFBs, according to the apex bank, cut across different states of the country include. A total of 154 microfinance banks were affected, as were 6 primary mortgage banks, and 22 finance companies.

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The apex bank had gone on to state that 62 of the microfinance banks had already closed shops; seventy four became insolvent, twelve were terminally distressed, while while six voluntarily liquidated.

Why microfinance banks can’t be sidelined

Robust economic growth cannot be achieved without putting in place well-focused programmes that increase access of poor and low-income earners to factors of production, especially credit. Microfinance is about providing financial services to the poor who are traditionally not served by conventional financial institutions.

In Nigeria, a large percentage of the population is still excluded from financial services. The Lagos Business School had revealed in a study that 43 per cent of Nigerians are financially excluded.

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In its financial inclusion report, which was launched in Lagos, the LBS noted that only 49 per cent of Nigerians owned bank accounts. It said eight per cent of Nigerians owned a mobile money account, while 36 per cent used informal financial tools.

Addressing the need for every meaningful Nigerian to get financial inclusion, Bowen Microfinance Bank said sidelining microfinance banks will undermine Nigeria’s financial inclusion strategy.

Meanwhile, the CBN had set a financial inclusion target of reaching 80 per cent of the total adult population by 2020, but presently, Nigeria is not on track to meet this target which was set out in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) of 2012.

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Rotimi

    March 19, 2019 at 12:40 am

    “but presently, Nigeria is not on track to meet this target which was set out in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) of 2012.”

    To say the CBN is not on track to meet its 2020 target of 80% Financial Inclusion in my opinion is a deliberate attempt at not telling the whole story. Its like saying the CBN has no programmes or strategies of onboarding the financially excluded adults in nigeria, this will be misleading.

    Recently, precisely October 2018 the apex bank rolled out it’s guidelines for the licensing and regulation of PSBs (that is, Payment Service Banks). PSBs by design are the FINTECH equivalents of nigerian commercial banks. Like all other MDB, they will be allowed to generate deposits amongst the unbanked using technology. Unlike commercial banks, PSBs according to tje CBN guidelines are not allowed to grant credit / loans. So risk of default is zero.

    Also, we see their efforts at licensing MMO (Mobile Money Operators) and Agency Banking Operators. Already, these latter groups are onboarding otherwise excluded persons.

    Nigeria like any other emerging economies can do more and should do more, nonetheless we should give credit when due and hard knocks when necessary.

    It is my hope that the CBN will fast track the licensing of the PSBs so that the 2020 vision can stand a chance. Impact wise, the apex bank may not achieve its 80% target but conservatively I believe the PSBs can drive the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) of 2012 from its current 43% to anywhere between 55-65%.

    Just my take.

    Rotimi

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Business

HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing

HealthPlus has made a formal complaint to the Police following its ensuing battle with Alta Semper.

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HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing

Nigerian Pharmacy Chain, HealthPlus Ltd which is in a battle for control with private equity firm Alta Semper Capital took a new twist as Health plus reported Alta Semper directors to the police last week, as observed in a document seen by Nairametrics.

In a letter sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police on the 25th of September, HealthPlus stated, “We had the presence of unknown persons around our head office locations.”

READ: FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone

The locations stated were 4 HealthPlus branches in Lekki, Lagos.

HealthPlus stated further, “We are aware that there are unauthorized and illegal plans by certain persons to take over our company premises to steal sensitive company property and assets, and ultimately take over operations of the company”

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The 4 persons mentioned by HealthPlus are; Zachary Fond and Ivan Genadiev (both Alta Semper Directors), Ernest Eguasa, CFO of company and an unidentified middle-aged white man.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data 

Niarametrics reported last week that HealthPlus Limited appointed Chidi Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer.

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However, the announcement set off a chain of allegations and counter-accusations, including online media mudslinging with both sides trying to court public sympathy for who is in control of the company.

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Economy & Politics

P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG

Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was boosted after a London Court ordered the release of $200Million placed as security in the case against P&ID.

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A London Commercial Court has ordered the release of a $200 million guarantee as security to be paid to the Nigerian government in the P&ID $10 billion Arbitral Claim.

This was disclosed in a social media statement by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday.

Nairametrics reported earlier this month that The Federal Government secured a landmark victory in its bid to overturn a $10 billion arbitration judgment award against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

READ: Nigeria seeks bank documents of former President, others over $9.6 billion P&ID case

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The Court said that Nigeria has established a strong prima case that the contract was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. He said that there is also a strong prima face case that the P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.

In today’s statement, the CBN said, “Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.”

READ; Why the NNPC is being dragged to US courts by Exxon Mobil, Shell

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“The court also awarded a £70,000 cost in favour of Nigeria in addition to an earlier award of £1.5m.”

On January 31, 2017, an arbitration tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID, the sum of $6.6 billion as damages and breach of contract after a 2010 deal for a gas project in the Niger Delta part of Nigeria collapsed. The pre and post judgement accrued interest of 7% has seen the amount standing against Nigeria, rise to almost $10 billion, an amount that will be a serious dent on the country’s external reserve.

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Business

FG to revitalize rice farms in rice producing regions

The Minister stated that rice production is expected to increase as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers.

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The Federal Government has stated that Rice Farms in Anambra State and other regions will be revitalized to boost rice production, create jobs and also improve the living standard of the people in the State and the region.

This was disclosed by the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, during the assessment of Federal Government Rice Farms/Mills in Omor and Umerum in Anambra State.

Given the importance of rice as a staple in Nigeria, the Minister stated that the Federal Government is taking steps to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, and this is evident in the policies of the government in achieving food and nutrition security, import substitution and promotion of inclusive economic growth across all sectors of the economy.

READ: CBN says 22 banks to restructure over 35,000 loans due to COVID-19

Government Policy Interventions in Agriculture and Rural Development has helped to develop the rice sector, and these interventions include the provision of farm inputs such as agrochemicals, organic fertilizers, knapsack sprayers, planting & harvesting equipment such as reapers, mini combine harvesters, threshers at a subsidized rate in order to increase productivity.

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The Minister added that these policies have not only increased the quantity of rice produced annually but interventions through the provision of modern rice milling machines to small/medium scale processors, has also helped to improve the quality of Nigeria milled rice to international standard.

READ: New PIB amends royalties by oil firms as Sylva clarifies position on scrapping of NNPC

However, Nigeria’s rice consumption still holds higher than production, but government interventions through myriads of policies have increased rice production from 4.8 million metric tons of milled rice in 2015 to over 6 million metric tons by 2019 with a huge reduction in the nation’s deficit.  Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri explained that production is expected to increase as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers.

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Shehuri said that ”the Ministry has established 23 Paddy Aggregation Centers nationwide to aggregate and store paddy. The centres were given to members of the Paddy Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN) under the public-private partnership arrangement”.

READ: How to register for FG’s N75 billion MSME survival funds

In like manners, there will be the dissemination of modern rice production and processing technologies, through capacity building of farmers and processors directly and also in conjunction with the international donor agencies such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), German International Cooperation (GIZ), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI), AfricaRice.

He reiterated that the Ministry is currently responding to the challenges of food availability posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting smallholder farmers nationwide with various inputs including certified seeds of improved varieties of food crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, wheat, orange-flesh sweet potato, groundnut cowpea, soybean, yam, as well as cash crops like cashew, cocoa, sesame, oil palm, gum Arabic. Others include herbicides, pesticides and agricultural machinery such as rice reapers, transplanters, power tillers motorized sprayers and processing equipment.

These interventions are expected to alleviate the effect of the pandemic on farmers and ensure that they keep producing food for the country.

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