The Managing Director of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe has declared that microfinance indeed empowers and liberates the poor if properly delivered on a sustainable basis.
Dr. Ehigiamusoe, while delivering the 4th. Professor Adebayo Akerele Lecture Series organized by the Faculty of Management Sciences, the University of Benin noted that little bits of financial services are transforming lives, and empowering low-income people to become active participants in the national economic space.
Speaking on the topic; Finance for the poor: From poverty alleviation to inclusive development, he stated that microfinance institutions are playing vital roles in deepening financial inclusion by integrating the poor and their businesses into the financial system.
Dr. Ehigiamusoe noted that microfinance banks provide an average loan value of N250 billion annually, adding that LAPO Microfinance Bank alone disbursed N113 billion in 2015 and targets N134 billion in the current financial year. The disbursement figure accounts for 45% of the total sum disbursed by all microfinance banks in Nigeria during the period.
The guest speaker predicted that microfinance as an instrument of inclusive growth will engender paradigm shift in poverty alleviation, economic and human development in the coming years, adding that more excluded segments of the society will be brought into the mainstream financial system.
Dr. Ehigiamusoe enjoined regulatory authorities and other stakeholders to evolve measures to deepen financial inclusion and maximize the benefits through building linkages between commercial and microfinance banks, provision of refinancing structure for MfBs to enable them meet the credit needs of low-income clients, human capital development and financial market segmentation.
He urged government to empower low income groups and small businesses through legislations that impose affirmative and continuing obligations on banks to deliver credit services to all segments of the society including youths, persons living with disabilities, rural dwellers, women and operators in the informal sector.