June 10, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Aba landlords petition Tinubu, demand return of micro-finance banks

Landed property owners in Aba, Abia State, grouped under “Aba Landlords’ Protection and Development Association (ALPADA)” are are angry with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), they say.

They say it was patently wrong for the apex bank to have engineered a policy by which a large army of Nigerians was thrown into unemployment, their businesses destroyed and their families languish in hunger.

ALPADA has therefore passionately pleaded with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to revisit the issue of the revocation of operating licenses of no fewer than 179 micro-finance banks, by the CBN, to have the mini-banks revitalised.

Their lamentations and appeal to the Presidency are captured in a petition signed by the quartet of Chief Leo Ike Nnodu Okoye, Chief Leonard Onyemesiri, Comrade Benson Imo and Sir B.I. Okoro, trustees of the association.

They charge that the license revocation orders as contained in two separate Federal Government official gazettes, Numbers 93 and 94 in May 2023, have negatively impacted both the lives of promoters and staff of the affected banks, as well as the economy of the country.

ALPADA argues that the gross effects of the others are the iquidation the affected banks, leading to the loss of about 4,000 businesses and several thousands of direct and indirect jobs, respectively.

That, they say, is in addition to the untold hardships which rural dwellers who form the bulk of  the primary clientele and customers of the suspended micro-finance institutions have been subjected to.

“The situation has seriously affected rural dwellers who rely on these microfinance banks for their economic activities, especially areas where commercial banks cannot cover. Most of these people now have their savings trapped in these mini-banks,” the association noted.

ALPADA further noted that most of these microfinance banks are off-shoots of community banks created for easy accessibility of financial services to rural dwellers.

It said that it was in the light of hardships being experienced by the poor rural dwellers and the general negative effects of the revocation orders that it was appealing for the suspension.

The landlords also faulted some of reasons adduced by the CBN for the revocation orders.

They noted that while some microfinance institutions may have suffered operational  difficulties, most were strived to meet their primary responsibilities, despite prevailing  economic, social and political challenges of the country.

“About three years ago, these microfinance institutions were directed by the CBN to raise their minimum share  capital from N250,000 to N50 million.

“That is a tall order, considering the recent challenges the whole world, not just Nigeria, had had to contend with, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, global insecurity and general economic meltdown.”

Yet, despite the harsh challenges, the affected microfinance institutions not only met the recapitalization demand, but also most of their other obligations.

Other reasons given by the CBN for the revocation, such as insolvency, failure to render returns, inactivity and failure to render most of their mandatory services for over six months, are not factual, the landlords also said.

ALPADA blamed the travails of the affected financial institutions mainly on the corrupt and tainted disposition of the CBN leadership under the now-suspended  Godwin Emefiele.

They advised President Tinubu that reversing the revocation order will go a long way in fast-tracking realization of his economic recovery policies.