Mudashir Olaitan, a former director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday said Microfinance Banks in Nigeria disbursed an estimated N1.012 trillion to customers between 2005 and October 2021 representing an average loan of about N125,000 to each customer.
Olaitan, a retired director, Development Finance Department of the nation’s apex bank made the remarks in his keynote address at the 7th annual LAPO Institute Conference of Microfinance and Enterprise Development (CMED) in Benin City.
The 7th annual conference has in its theme, “Microfinance in a Challenging Economy”.
He said that at the moment there are 912 Microfinance banks in the country with 21.9million active account holders and 8.1 million borrowers.
Olaitan, who commended Godwin Ehigiamusoe for establishing LAPO Microfinance Bank (LAPO MFB), the largest private Microfinance Bank in West Africa, noted that Microfinance banks are important as they provide access to financial services to small enterprises, unbanked, underserved and vulnerable in a stable macroeconomic environment.
He said that Microfinance banks need to respond to the ever-changing economic landscape of Nigeria to stay financially sustainable.
He also urged them to unlock new opportunities and drive innovation by harnessing the digital revolution and to develop green policies and products.
Godwin Ehigiamusoe, chairman, governing council, LAPO Institute, said the theme of the conference was apt as global economies, never as before, are faced with myriads of challenges.
According to him, businesses are experiencing decline in volume and market share. This is largely due to inadequate insights into market dynamics and increasing complexities in the business environment. Business actors at the bottom end of the market which Microfinance institutions target have been worse hit.
“As many countries continue to feel the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, organizations, particularly microfinance banks and institutions, small and medium- sized enterprises are seeking to evolve ways to align their strategies and plans to address the challenges.
“The Nigeria microfinance industry is by no means spared in these challenges. Their operations are being inhibited by a number of factors such as policy reviews, infractions, poor corporate governance, civil unrest and insecurity”, he said.