• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Engage entrepreneurship extension services to capture the 39.5 percent unbanked, Utomi tells MFBs

pat utomi

Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and management expert  has challenged Micro Finance institutions in the country, to engage the  entrepreneurship extension service providers,to enable them harvest 39.5 percent of unbanked Nigerians which  he said would pull several people out of poverty  and facilitate financial inclusion of many.

Utomi who was a guest speaker at the 2016 micro-finance conference on Thursday  in Abuja said entrepreneurship extension service is necessary to provide capacity for entrepreneurs and have a governance structure that sustains their business beyond economic uncertainties. The conference had the theme, which has the theme”Emerging trends in Micro finance banking.”

Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and management expert
Pat Utomi, professor of political economy and management expert

According to Utomi,”Micro Finance institutions must  look at the people they are serving and  work towards giving them entrepreneurship support services to sustain them in business and even transit them to becoming bigger entrepreneurs. If you look  at the Bangladesh example you will notice that you don’t give people cash, you give them access. For instance,identifying people and what they have the capacity to do and empowering them along that line, is key”

“When you identify this section of people,you bring them together and provide them with access. Also have an entrepreneurship  extension service essentially supporting them on how to manage their business with governance and the results would be there”Utomi said.

Currently, the  financially excluded in the Nigeria is currently put at between  39-45 percent,which Valentine Whensu,the President of National Association of Micro-finance Banks said the association through the conference would be coming up with products that will encourage more people into financial inclusion.

In this regard,he said,”What we are looking at now  is how to utilise the machinery of Micro-finance bank to drive the financial inclusion of the federal government. We have new products coming up like micro-franchising,micro-pension,micro”lease,Micro housing,which we are using to eliminated all sorts of barriers among the unbanked to also live a dignified life.

The fact that you are poor doesn’t mean that you cannot have a shelter over your head. Once you are economically active and you can make about N1000 and N2000 daily,and you are able to save,you can have a house within the next 10 years. That is the content we are currently  promoting on micro-financing”he stated further.

Also,”We are also encouraging people through micro-pensions to live a dignified life when they have worked so hard over the years. We are providing micro-health products to ensure that there is a form of health insurance products for those in our platforms and also to encourage more people into the net”

These are some of the products we are exposing some of our members to and we are encouraging them to harvest more people into this financial inclusiveness,and pull down the number of un banked Nigerian”

Meanwhile,Okey Ezewu,representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria,(CBN) at the conference also identified poor corporate governance structure,weak capital base skill deficiencies and inappropriate business model,as some of the bane of the micro-finance sector in the country. He also urged them to compete strategically in their own space and stop operating as mini commercial banks to enbale them to focus on the unbanked and the social excluded.

He  challenged  the Micro-finance operators  to focus on financial literacy,digital financial services,creating enhancement programmes, embracing modern technology and improving internal operational control to enable it become better capitalised institutions.