The National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) has described the House of Representatives’ stance urging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the April 2021 deadline set for the ongoing recapitalization drive for microfinance banks based on the lingering COVID-19 pandemic-triggered disruptions of the nation’s economy as a welcomed development.
The lawmakers’ advice was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the ‘Urgent Need for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the Deadline for Recapitalization of Microfinance Banks’ moved by Hon. Saidu Musa Abdullahi (APC – Niger state).
The decision, as the lawmakers maintained, was also not unconnected with the findings of a survey conducted by the NAMB which showed that out of 874 licensed MFBs, about 612 may be adversely affected by the re-capitalization policy.
The House mandated the Committee on Banking and Currency to interface with the CBN to find a workable solution to the challenges associated with the recapitalization of the MFBs and report back within four weeks for further legislative actions.
Reacting to the Green Chamber’s position at the weekend while chatting with journalists, the National President of the NAMB, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Gyallesu, commended the lawmakers for the decision “in view of the current micro and macroeconomic challenges in the Nigerian economy and the implications for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ operations and sustainable growth.
“NAMB sees the Legislators’ advice to the apex bank as desirable for the MFBs’ subsector as it will allow licensed microfinance banks to re-strategize on their recapitalization plans and by so doing better position them at the vanguard of the national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS) drive to alleviate poverty at the grassroots.
“While we want to commend the CBN for its sustained policy measures to strengthen the MFBs over the years, we shall be ready to work with the monetary authority’s leadership on how best to reschedule the recapitalization plans such that the implementation of the policy will ensure a win-win position for all stakeholders and the nation’s economy in the long run”, Gyallesu assured.
Earlier before adopting the motion at Plenary, the lawmakers noted that the apex bank had in October 2018 reviewed the minimum share capital requirement of the three categories of MFBs.
Under the revised template, Unit Microfinance Banks’ minimum capital requirement was raised from N20 million to N200 million; State MFBs’ from N100 million to N1 billion and National MFBs from N2 billion to N5 billion.
The lawmakers also noted that on March 18, 2019, the CBN further reviewed the minimum capital requirements for MFBs, allowing for instalment payment and categorization of Unit Microfinance into tiers 1 and 2, thus following the new capital requirement guideline.
The House noted tier 1 MFBs (Urban) are to pay N200 million as a minimum capital requirement while tier 2 (Rural) is to pay N50 million as against the initial N200 million requirements in 2018.