Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 24 November 2016 | 3,780 times
The Executive Secretary of the Association of Non-bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN), Dr Godbless Safugha, has said that this year’s conference has provided an opportunity for Monetary Financial Institutions (MFIs) to key into the fast-moving train of digital financing, and form partnerships that will position the financial outfits as agents that could now provide such essential services that were traditionally reserved for the deposit monetary banks and the licensed mobile money operators.
Dr Safugha, who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with News Express at the 2016 conference of the ANMFIN, held recently at the Sharon Ultimate Hotel, Area 3, Garki, Abuja, with the theme, ‘Digital Finance: The Emerging Trend,’ added: “The rate of change in the market is so fast that several MFIs will be left behind in the next few years.”
According to the organisers, the conference was designed to provide a platform for leveraging technological advances to promote financial viability as well as deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria. And that it also succeeded in providing an opportunity for connections and engagements among stakeholders, even as they proffered solutions to the challenge of poverty alleviation, and dispensed ways of also rendering quality financial services to rural dwellers.
In the key-note address entitled ‘Imperatives and Opportunities for Microfinance Institutions to Linking Agriculture Value-chains to Digital Finance’, Minister of State for Agriculture Dr Heineken Lokpobiri, who was represented by Alhaji Muyiwa Yusuf, said that, agriculture should prominently be seen as a formidable weapon to tackle the arduous challenges of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, declining oil prices, and devaluation in the country.
He noted: “This conference on Digital Finance succinctly captures the direction of our agriculture in the 21st Century, and far beyond. This is actually not only in Nigeria, but across the globe, particularly looking at the present and future of our food requirements and the increasingly-growing Nigeria and world population.”
On the need for fund which could cause increasing growth and expansion in the agricultural sector, he said that farmers need funds to buy seeds and fertilizers, while agro-dealers also need funds to stock up on agricultural inputs.
The minister tasked participants to consciously and conscientiously explore and exploit available opportunities provided by the esteemed gathering of notable people at the conference.
In his speech, National President of the Association, Hon Hamid Giwa Afolabi, expressed happiness, saying: “My excitement is embedded in the fact that over five years of swimming in the ocean of employment creation, poverty reduction and financial inclusion, ANMFIN has continued to pursue her goal of promoting microfinance for sustainable development without wavering.
“Recession or no recession, for those who may not know, our motto at ANMFIN is ‘to promote microfinance for sustainable development.’ Like the children of Issachar in the Holy Bible, ANMFIN have ‘understanding of the times’, to know what the microfinance subsector ought to do to be sustainable.”
The Programmes Director, Mr Ossai Ilome, told News Express: “The Inclusive Finance Conference was conceptualised in 2015, to serve as a breeding ground for a new partnership, collaborative opportunities, and investment insight for operators in the microfinance sub-sector towards deepening financial inclusion.”
•Photo shows, from right; Representative of the Minister of State for Agriculture, Muyiwa Yusuf; Country Representative of International Fund for Agricultural Development, A Atsuko Toda; Chairman, Board of Trustees ANMFIN, Hon Daniel Ugbama; President of ANMFIN, Giwa Afolabi and Director of Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Mudashiru Olaitan.
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