UP-MFB Scores Another First, ... Manages Coal City Cabs Scheme

UP-MFB Scores Another First, ... Manages Coal City Cabs Scheme

As a fast growing microfinance institution, striving very hard to up lift and empower the poor, the Umuchinemere Pro-credit Microfinance Bank (UP-MFB) Limited, Ikwuato street, Enugu, made a remarkable achievement recently and took a number one placement in the very competitive banking world, particularly in the eastern part of Nigeria, when the present Enugu State Government, under the leadership of Mr. Sullivan Chime, reposed total confidence in the bank and made it its partner in the management of its multimillion naira transportation poverty eradication programme, Coal City Cabs (CCC) scheme, Enugu.

Knowledgeable sources within the state government told The Listener that the choice of Umuchinemere Pro-credit Microfinance Bank to manage the scheme on behalf of the government was after a critical trust and credibility assessment of various commercial and microfinance banks around and the bank excelled.

Under the partnership programme, the bank is to assist the government recover the total cost of putting the cabs on the road and manage the cabs on behalf of the government for the first three years.

The CCC is a partnership taxi scheme with UP-MFB, which has been mandated to provide modern taxi services in Enugu, comparable to what is tenable in developed society.

According to the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Luke Mamel, "the scheme is a hire purchase agreement between the cab operator and the government, at the end of which, on complete repayment of the total cost of the car, the operator automatically becomes the owner of the car".

Governor Sullivan Chime commissioned the taxi scheme, code-named 'Coal City Cabs' (CCC), on Friday, March 13, 2009, at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, with 200 units of brand new Nissan Sunny model cars and another batch of 200 units of Suzuki Alto brand new model cars.

Mr. Mamel said the state government spent ₦440 million for the purchase of the 200 Nissan Sunny cars, with air conditioner and some accessories of comfort. In addition, he explained that the cars "are equipped with state of the art digital tracking devices with 'geofence', which ensures effective monitoring of the movement of the vehicles to avoid them leaving the Enugu metropolis without getting clearance first from the managers of the scheme".

Mamel told the tumultuous gathering at the scheme launch that it was a poverty alleviation programme of the state government, as the operators of the cabs would own them at the end of three years. Prospective operator of the cab must be a taxpayer because it was taxpayers money that was used to buy the cars. They must have no criminal records, must be good citizens of the country and must be in good health condition.

Managing Director of UP-MFB, Mrs. Nnenna Maria Ekete, said in a prepared text distributed at the CCC commissioning ceremony that the taxi operators were required in the repayment schedule to pay for the comprehensive insurance cover of the vehicle, the in built vehicle tracking device, monthly servicing charge and administrative fee.

She commended the Enugu State Government under Chime for initiating the programme, thanking it for considering Umuchinemere Pro-credit Microfinance Bank worthy to manage the programme. Mrs. Ekete pressed the readiness of the bank to do more business with the government in the implementation of its people oriented programmes, going by the outstanding record of the bank.

In her awesome and very powerful speech, which drew intermittent applause and even stunned the governor into making an open acknowledgment of the speech as very moving, the amiable, oratorical and encyclopaedic chairman of the bank, Very Rev. Prof. Msgr. Obiora Francis Ike, who as a child prodigy became a Roman Catholic Priest at the age of 25 years in 1981 in far away Austria, described the CCC scheme as a new dawn in poverty alleviation in the state.

Prof. Ike, a polymath who is also the Director of the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice, Peace and Caritas (CIDJAP) Enugu, sees poverty as the main disease of Africa, and urged commercial motor-cyclists in the state to take advantage of the scheme and enhance their living condition.

Rev. Prof. Ike, a world acclaimed scholar, exhibited a high level of his witty qualities in his explanation of the scheme, the bank and the partnership to an admirable and applauding level while spoking.Ike, a consummate motivator/inspiration, gave the government the much-sought confidence that the bank would competently handle the project to its satisfaction without any (feared) encumbrance.

Governor Chime who was full of praises for Msgr. Ike said in order to ensure the viability and sustainability of the scheme, "government entered into a partnership agreement with Umuchinemere Pro-credit Microfinance Bank to manage the scheme" Expressing his government's confidence in the bank, the governor said "with the track record of the bank in rendering quality banking services and management of resources, I am quite convinced that government's desire to reform and restore an integrated transportation system in Enugu State is on course"

He explained that the state of transportation in Enugu is deplorable and the need to improve the condition and enhance the well being of the local residents in that regard, as well as making tourism worth while in the city, in formed of the introduction of the CCC scheme and massive reconstruction of internal city roads in the state.

Chime said akin to what is tenable in some western countries, he was aiming at a situation where auto-driven taxis could be in service in Enugu.

The Bank's Head of Business Development and Management, Mr. Odinaka, is the Supervisor of the scheme, while Mrs. Ifeoma Oruruo is Manager of the scheme on behalf of the bank.

Enugu Diocese Bishop-elect Msgr. Dr. Callistus Valentime Chukwuma Onaga, said the opening prayer at the launching ceremony

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