The National Association of MicroFinance Banks (NAMB), Kwara State chapter, has raised the alarm that no fewer than 2,000 workers of microfinance banks (MFBs) will lose their jobs following the state government directive.
About three weeks ago, the government directed civil servants, pensioners and other categories of workers having salary accounts with MFBs to migrate to commercial banks for alleged ease of salary payment.
The state directed the civil servants and others to open accounts with commercial banks.
Addressing reporters on Wednesday in Ilorin, the Chairman of NAMB in the state, Alhaji Ahmad Suleiman, urged the government to rescind its decision.
He said the announcement had jolted operators of microfinance banks, noting that the implications of such action were debilitating.
Said he: “The implications of stopping civil servants from patronizing microfinance banks include increase in bad debts capable of increasing the portfolio at risk (PAR) of the banks to intolerable level by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the efforts made by MFBs to meet up with the new recapitalisation policy of the CBN may be jeopardised; services being rendered to the civil servants and the poor masses will no longer be achieved.
“The policy will also impact negatively on the financial inclusion policy of the CBN in the state. Currently, we have about 28 MFBs across the state with about 2,000 workers and close to 13,438 civil servants and pensioners banking with only 15 MFBs that we were able to capture as at February 25.
“Another issue is that most of the civil servants banking with us are indebted to the MFBs to the tune of about one billion Naira, as it relates to the 15 banks. Statistics for the remaining 14 banks are yet to be captured. About 2,000 workforce of these banks are likely to lose their jobs in the event that these banks are insolvent, thereby increasing unemployment rate in the state.”
Suleiman added: “It is on record today that most parts of the state are without the presence of commercial banks and this will be stressful for civil servants to enjoy the desirable banking services if their salary accounts are moved from their immediate environment.”