Why co­op­er­a­tives, fi­nan­cial NGOs should be un­der one roof – Giwa

Daily Trust - - INTERVIEW - By Olayemi R. Ibrahim Afo­labi Hamid Giwa

Afo­labi Hamid Giwa is the Na­tional Pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Non-Bank Mi­cro­fi­nance In­sti­tu­tions in Nigeria (ANMFIN), which re­cently trained its mem­bers in cor­po­rate gov­er­nance in Abuja. In this in­ter­view he ex­plains why they want to bring fi­nan­cial NGOs, co­op­er­a­tives, women groups and oth­ers un­der one roof. donors that MFIs but gives an over­sight can as­sist your func­tion. But for the fact op­er­a­tions that they are the reg­u­la­tor the mo­ment on fi­nan­cial pro­grammes you have a of the coun­try ev­ery other good pack­age. or­gan­i­sa­tion or in­sti­tu­tion Once you that falls within the fi­nan­cial pack­age your line be­comes an in­ter­ac­tive pro­gramme body to the CBN. very well they We link up with CBN are ready to be­cause of the Mi­cro Fi­nance as­sist you. pol­icy. When we are set­ting This is part of up this or­gan­i­sa­tion, it was what we have the CBN, hav­ing known been do­ing to what is op­er­a­tional in the make sure that MFIs across the world, that our mem­bers did the ad­vo­cacy for all the get fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

What is ANMFIN all about?

ANMFIN is amal­ga­mated and a player of the MFI, thrift so­ci­eties, NGOs that are into mi­cro­fi­nance op­er­a­tions. We reg­u­late the ac­tiv­i­ties of play­ers of MFIs in the coun­try. At times you hear of money bags and co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties that dupe people of their money and run away, this is part of what we deal with.

Our as­so­ci­a­tion is serv­ing as in­for­ma­tion ex­change cen­tre on de­vel­op­ment of mi­cro fi­nance ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­try and the link­age on try­ing to make sure that people are get­ting what they want, es­pe­cially those that have been pa­tro­n­is­ing the MFBs mak­ing and sure they are able to ac­cess nor­mal fund they are sup­posed to get and not some people gath­er­ing their money and dis­solv­ing into thin air.

De­spite the ex­is­tence of many mi­cro fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions, why is ac­cess to fi­nance still dif­fi­cult?

On the is­sue of loan as­sess­ment, it is due to the bot­tle­necks that they use to put on the port­fo­lio of these funds we are talk­ing about. Take for ex­am­ple, there was a time the CBN rolled out bil­lion naira for agri­cul­tural pro­gramme to which they said all the small scale farm­ers and MFI play­ers should ac­cess. We be­lieve that 20 per­cent of our mem­bers were un­able to ac­cess the fund due to some bot­tle­necks. The bot­tle­necks is that, the mo­ment the govern­ment rolls out a pro­gramme, the state­ment was that any­one that wants to par­tic­i­pate in it should reg­is­ter ei­ther as a co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­ety or as a body so as to ac­cess that fund which is wrong. What they should have done is to tell us to go and join an ex­ist­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, the ex­ist­ing MFI play­ers, farm­ers groups that have been play­ing and can­not de­fault and not the people that are con­nected to the pres­i­dency and at the end of the day the people that it is meant for do not have it. This is what led to the col­lapse of the pro­gramme.

We have been try­ing to erad­i­cate such cases through our in­ter­ac­tive dis­cus­sions with all the or­gans that are re­spon­si­ble for them.

What im­pact will the board train­ing bring to your mem­bers?

We need to give this train­ing to en­sure that mem­bers ful­fill the ethics of the as­so­ci­a­tion and adapt to fi­nan­cial reporting that we have set up and most im­por­tantly to set up global stan­dard be­cause ANMFIN is of global level; in Gam­bia, Ghana, USA, Bri­tain. We have set a stan­dard to make sure that our mem­bers, es­pe­cially board mem­bers, who hap­pen to be at the apex dis­sem­i­nate the in­for­ma­tion to their var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions.

Be­fore now, we have been do­ing na­tional sen­si­ti­sa­tion for our mem­bers. We started since last year at dif­fer­ent geopo­lit­i­cal re­gions. We sen­si­tise our mem­bers to­wards the stan­dard we set up but we still be­lieve that we must or­gan­ise sem­i­nars for them to prac­ti­calise what they should be do­ing in their zones.

How far have you gone in build­ing your mem­bers fi­nances a in re­la­tion­ship to your ob­jec­tives?

There are fi­nan­cial link­ages that we are in­volved in. We are part­ners with var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions but that is not enough. We have dis­cus­sion with the Bank of Agri­cul­ture and we told them the tem­plate. We built our tem­plate and let them know that this is where we be­lieve they can as­sist us, es­pe­cially our mem­bers that are into agri­cul­tural fi­nance.

Just re­cently, we joined the African Ru­ral Agri­cul­tural Credit As­so­ci­a­tion, it is a con­ti­nen­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion for Africa and its func­tion is to link you to in­ter­na­tional

What are some of the sanc­tions meted out to de­fault­ers by you as a reg­u­la­tor?

We do not have power of prose­cu­tion but we have our se­cu­rity of­fi­cers across the coun­try that help check ex­cesses. Vi­o­la­tors are traced and re­ported to the se­cu­rity agencies be­cause they have power to pros­e­cute. It has hap­pened in some places, like Kano and Kwara states and some of those de­fault­ers are still in po­lice net. Some of them are those that gather people’s money all in the name of op­er­at­ing MFBs and they will run away. We al­ways have a way of get­ting in­for­ma­tion about them and reporting the is­sue to the se­cu­rity agents who pick them up in­clud­ing their staff.

We told our mem­bers to be vig­i­lant be­cause we do not want any­body that will dent our im­age. There are some play­ers of MFIs that used to col­lect forms from in­ter­na­tional donors and at the end of the day they will die fat but we do not want such to hap­pen again.

How are you able to deal with cred­i­bil­ity be­tween mem­bers of the pub­lic and MFB in­sti­tu­tions?

That is the ad­vo­cacy we are now em­bark­ing on. We want to go into full pub­lic­ity that ANMFIN is op­er­at­ing on very good ethics that reg­u­lates the ac­tiv­i­ties of MFIs in the coun­try. We are here to reg­u­late the ac­tiv­i­ties of the play­ers in the in­sti­tu­tions and want the pub­lic to deal with MFIs that are ANMFIN cer­ti­fied.

What is your re­la­tion­ship with the CBN?

CBN does not

reg­is­ter MFIs play­ers. It is a bot­tom up ar­range­ment.

Our link­age with CBN is sim­ply be­cause they are the reg­u­la­tor of fi­nan­cial is­sues across the coun­try but we are reg­is­tered by the CAC and op­er­at­ing un­der that act. But it is the CBN that helps us in time of recog­ni­tion.

What are you do­ing in the area of SMEs ac­cess­ing loans from MFBs?

ANMFIN is a mem­ber of Mi­cro­fi­nance Ad­vi­sory Body (MAP) and we nor­mally meet. Some of the MFBs are not op­er­at­ing as they should be­cause the in­ter­est on their loan is too high and we told the CBN to reg­u­late them. Again, the bot­tle­neck of the con­ven­tional bank­ing they adopted is wrong but we are do­ing some­thing on that.

We were told by the CBN, though that there are var­i­ous portfolios of loans in var­i­ous banks, like agri­cul­tural loan in First Bank, Bank of Agri­cul­tural and Union Bank. Since there are portfolios there, we tai­lor our mem­bers to get loans from such banks.

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