The Bank of Industry (BoI) has pledged to partner with micro finance banks (MFBs) in Nigeria to support small businesses and promote financial inclusion.

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has pledged to partner with micro finance banks (MFBs) in Nigeria to support small businesses and promote financial inclusion.

Speaking at a technical session organised by BoI for MFBs, Olukayode Pitan, the newly appointed chief executive officer of the development bank, said the DFI understood the key role played by micro finance banks in bridging the financing gap experienced by micro enterprises in the Nigerian economy.

Pitan said BoI was seeking to align with MFBs to promote financial inclusion and deepen activities among people at the bottom of the pyramid.

“In driving economic growth in any nation, it is imperative to ensure that flow of money /capital reaches the bottom of the pyramid, where the majority of the country’s citizenship falls into,” he said.

“Whereas formal financial institutions are mandated to provide access to finance to enterprises in the economy, their operational activities are unable to reach the grassroots segments. This is where the microfinance institutions function as enablers to bridging this financing gap. In countries that have vibrant MSME segments, MFIs have been major contributors to reducing poverty levels and increasing the earning powers of micro enterprises,” he stated.

The BoI boss said Nigeria was not an exception as the activities of Nigerian micro finance institutions, including the licensed MFBs, had led to reductions in the country’s number of unbanked adults.

He said there was more to be done to achieve the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s financial inclusion mandate to reduce financial exclusion rate to 20 percent by 2020.

He dosclosed that BoI had identified MFBs as key partners to the execution of its Bottom of the Pyramid  (BOP) and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), as the banks understood the workings of the customers in the MSME segment

“MFBs have a deep understanding of the challenges experienced by these customers especially regarding growth and access to finance. MFBs have deeper geographical spread based on the unit, state and national structure adopted,” he stated, disclosing  that the bank had disbursed about N3 billion to over 3,000 under the BOP scheme.

He said to date, about N4 billion had been disbursed to qualified beneficiaries in 31 states and the FCT under the GEEP scheme.

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Ezeadichie Onyeka Michael is the Co-Founder of Haelsoft, a Professional Services Company in Nigeria that provides Information and Technology Services for small and big size companies in Nigeria(Africa). He is an Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist with Expertise in Web Technology and Digital Marketing. He has developed & Implemented Digital Marketing Strategies(Campaigns) for top brands across sectors in Finance, Telecommunication, Ecommerce who operate in the African market. His professional experience includes key roles at Google Business Group(Nigeria), Google Women on the Web (Nigeria), Edubridge Consultant and Wild Fusion where he has trained over 500 Entrepreneurs on how to use various Web Technology products to succeed online. Customer centricity, User Experience, Conversion optimization are 3 pronged framework he applies around the often-frenetic world of web analytics to ensure that clients stay competitive in the market. He believes that investing in talent is the key to long term success for brands across Nigeria (Africa).

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