Worried by the unyielding condition of widespread hunger in the land, the Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank (UPMFB), a bank established by the Roman Catholic diocese of Enugu to eradicate poverty through what the Church calls economic evangelization and economic emancipation of the poor, has thrown its weight behind government's agriculture revolution policy and programme for self sufficiency in food production locally in the country, granting ₦50m credit facilities to 209 small scale farmers to encourage and boost farming in Enugu State in the first half of 2019.
According to Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank's Head of Credit, Mr. Charles Udeani, "the bank is certainly doing well in the Federal Government's Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme, as evidenced in the amount of loan, ₦50m, as a microfinance bank granted to small scale farmers in the agric sector of the economy."
The bank has so far within its limitations in the first six months of the year extended the sum of ₦50m in credit facilities to a total of 209 small scale local farmers within its area of operation in Enugu State for local food production for sufficiency.
In comparative terms, Mr. Udeani explained that the figure shows a substantial increase from about ₦30m which the bank granted the agric sector within a similar period in the previous year.
It would be remembered that the bank in taking up the gauntlet to boost agriculture and local production of food and fight hunger in the land took the first position in the recent past in the Central Bank of Nigeria's assessment of loans granted to the agriculture sector by microfinance banks in Nigeria.
But for certain obvious limitations or difficulties encountered in granting credit facilities, such as lack of adequate, efficient, effective and easily accessible ICT national bio-data base to check or track borrowers and their records, UPMFB would have given more funds to its (prospective) customers than what it was able to do so far this year.
The bank official said, "Some of the challenges include absence of reliable national ICT-based personal identification bio-data base that could be easily used to track borrowers, especially when they start defaulting in loan repayment and change their location; lack of special courts to for loan default cases; lack of clear cut legislation and policies to discourage loans defaulting, etc".
Making a strong case for provision of efficient and easily accessible national personal bio-data base, establishment of special court for trial of loan cases, and for making of laws to deter loans default, the UPMFB head of Credit observed that lack of the foregoing facilities poses serious impediment in offering credit facilities to people, which is a big problem not just to meeting the financial needs of people but improving the economy of the country and growth or development.
Udeani said that in societies where these things were available there was minimal loan repayment default because of the consequence of default, just as it helps to determine credit rating of anyone seeking loan from financial institutions.
Generally speaking however, the Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank disbursed a total of ₦565,584,457 to 2,503 active poor people in the first half of 2019 in various sectors of the economy, among them were the 209 small scale farmers that were given the sum of N50m within the period, which is a remarkable improvement from the ₦451,182,305 facilities it disbursed to 2,114 active poor persons in a similar period last year.
Of the beneficiaries, a total of 1,459 were males and they had the sum of ₦265,012,457, while the balance of ₦300,572,000 went to females, as against the ₦257,045,905 to 1,305 males in 2018.
There was a significant general improvement in the performance of the bank so far this year in disbursements, in terms of amount or volume and number of beneficiaries from the preceding year, as the total figure disbursed increased by ₦114,402,152, from ₦451,182,305 to ₦565,584,457, while the number of beneficiaries rose by 389, from 2,114 in 2018 to 2,503 in 2019 respectively.
Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank is one of the best microfinance institutions in the country which are helping the government to achieve its financial inclusion policy, enhance the quality of life and well being of the active poor and generally improve the economy of the country.
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Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank throws behind Federal Government's food sufficiency programme, gives ₦50m to 209 small scale farmers in Enugu State to boost agriculture, calls for special court/legislation against loan default
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