The House of Representatives has expressed concerns over the closure of some microfinance banks in the country.
Following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. James Shuaibu Barka, the House has planned to investigate the nation’s apex bank for revoking the operational license of some microfinance banks in the nation.
According to Nigerian Tribune, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor had on the 22nd May, 2023, revoked the operational license of 47 Microfinance Banks across the country, including Biyama Microfinance Bank Ltd in Hong Local Government Area, Adamawa State.
“The House also notes that the reasons cited in the communication include that the banks were either inactive, insolvent, failed to render returns, closed shop, or ceased to carry on the type of banking business for which they were licensed for more than six months in contravention of the Banks & Other Financial Institution Act (BOFIA) 2020.
“The House is concerned that the closure of Biyama Microfinance Bank, which is the only community bank in the Hong Local Government Area, has caused undue hardship to the people who depend on the banking and financial services offered by the bank for their small and medium enterprises.
“The House is worried that closing down the only financial institution in a place where the people go through so much hardship to earn stipends to deposit, or to get small loans to run small businesses for survival would only frustrate them further and may push them into crime to survive.
“The House is cognizant that Hong is one of the Local Government Areas that was ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents, which left thousands of people without any means of livelihood, thus a deliberate bias of economic stimulating activities in favour of such communities would go a long way in helping to resuscitate their local economy.
“The House is aware that after the recapitalization of the Bank to the required N50 million share capital, the Bank never ceased operating in line with BOFlA and has been making all required reports and returns.
“The House is also aware that the Board of the Bank and other stakeholders have reviewed the incident and written a formal complaint to the CBN, objecting to the revocation of their license as, since regular visits from the CBN, the Bank has never been accused of defaulting, neither has any examiner’s report been issued to show that the Bank has offended any law, rules, or regulations of any of the regulatory authorities.
“The House is disturbed that if the situation is not urgently resolved, the people will resort to keeping their money at home, which makes them easy prey for armed robbery and burglary.
“The House is also aware that the people of Hong Local Government Area are predominantly farmers, and the rainy season is their most active season, thus the matter requires urgent attention,” he noted.
The House tasked the apex bank to restore the operational licences of the affected banks until investigations are concluded.