The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has written to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, stating that the Northern states are financially marginalized.
In the letter signed by its National Chairman, Audu Ogbeh, the Forum said the north is “unserved and underserved” despite its status as the most populous region in the country.
He observed that the Microfinance Banks that are looked upon to serve the majority of the people all over the country are not properly positioned to do this in the North.
Part of the letter reads
“The microfinance banks that are looked upon to serve the majority of the people all over the country are not properly positioned to do this.
Only one government-owned microfinance which is fairly new in the business is being patronized by CBN to disburse intervention funds, thereby neglecting and denying other duly licensed microfinance Banks across the country the privilege and opportunity to participate in this noble cause.
This bank enjoys the unfair advantage of cheap government funds while other microfinance banks have to source for expensive funds to compete with the favored bank in the same market.”
He said other microfinance banks must be involved for the government’s intervention funds to the economically-poor and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to be successful.
He condemned the apex bank’s new capital requirement for microfinance banks, saying “the astronomical review of CBN’s new capital requirement will see to the demise of most of the microfinance banks presently operating in the north”.
According to Ogbe, only 310 microfinance banks are operational in the north, adding that the new policy would result in the survival of only 15 percent of them.
“This development will further exclude a good part of the north from financial services and inclusion, compound the negative effects of the second wave of COVID19, aggravate the poverty level of the north, and weaken the insecurity of the region” he said.