Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (microfinance bank), Dr Godwin Ehigiamusoe, on Tuesday said that one of the biggest threats faced by the micro-credit sector was the issue of bad loans.
According to him, many Nigerians liked to take loans from microfinance banks but unwilling to pay back when the time for them to do so comes.
Ehigiamusoe, who said this had led to the collapse of many MFBs in the country, stated that the disturbing trend was affecting development and the growth of small scale businesses in Nigeria.
Speaking further, the LAPO boss, who said the financial institution disbursed over N137bn in loans in 2018, called on government to support the sector so that more Nigerians could be financially included and lifted out of poverty.
He said, “We live in a country where people would smile and be happy when they are collecting loans but when it is time for them to pay back such, they would run into hiding and be reluctant.
“When they are eventually held and asked to pay back, they start crying and making it look like the banks are bad.
“This is one biggest issues threatening the growth of the sector we operate in. Nigerians must change their attitude towards loan repayment.”
Ehigiamusoe however, stated that despite the glaring hurdles, LAPO would continue to offer services that would drive development that positively impacts the lives of ordinary people in Nigeria.
He added, “There are indeed many challenges affecting the operations of microfinance establishments like LAPO but notwithstanding, we will continue to come up with initiatives that help combat poverty in our country.
“Last year, we disbursed N137bn in loans. Our concern as a microfinance institution revolves around Nigeria’s poor and the impact we can make in tackling poverty.
“We need to review the existing measures put in place to address poverty in the country and lift people out of it.
“That is the only way we can drive genuine development in Nigeria.”