The Managing Director, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Mr. Abubakar Abdulahi Kure, in this interview with ABDULWAHAB ISA, speaks on the unending quest by Nigerians to access loans, among other issues.
It’s been two years since NIRSAL came into being. How has it fared in terms of carrying out its core mandate?
Our conceptualisation is with the support of CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, essentially to help those at the lower level of the economy. The idea is to create jobs, provide and create affordable and accessible loans and also to grow the economy effectively. What I have found out is, people think this is a public fund. There is poor perception around it, which could pose a danger on recoveries. Some people feel it’s a national cake.
There would be challenges around recoveries. We also have scammers around the products. Because people are desperate; because demand supersedes supply and the fund is limited, people get scammed. The other aspect is around numbers. I must tell you, it is not easy to do numbers in terms of volume. We have significant volumes, which most commercial banks are doing. As I speak to you, we have close to one million beneficiaries.
The number ranges from Anchor Borrower’s Program (ABP), we have done Agric loans; we have done Youth Investment Scheme. Put all these loans together, we are talking of over N600 billion given to over one million Nigerians. When you look at the banking system and granting of loan facilities, it’s a major challenge.
We have to ensure the system works right, we need to ensure the system has the capacity around the volume and, naturally, because people are involved, there are a lot of complaints here and there regarding accessibility. Occasionally, we also have some operational issues with volumes because we are dealing with bulk payment. All these are challenges we face.
We thank God we are able to confront it and we are waxing stronger. I have seen people confessing that if not for Nirsal Microfinance Bank, the Nigerian economy wouldn’t have come out of lockdown; Nigeria would have locked down completely. We are seeing recoveries in output and this is significant.
As a result of loans we are giving, factories are back in operations producing goods and people are being impacted economically to buy the goods. In the area of inflation, we have helped as well. Once we give people a loan, some channel to their farm. This boosts supply of goods and services. Essentially, you find out as time goes by, people get these goods at affordable prices.
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Nirsal Microfinance Bank – Over 7 Million Nigerians On Queue For COVID-19 Loans On Our Portal