The Global Affairs Canada-funded intervention, MEDA Nigeria WAY Project has reiterated its commitment to providing technical support to the Bauchi State Agency for Sustainable Microfinance in the implementation of the Agency’s ongoing Microfinance Institution Building Program for Poverty Reduction (MIFIN) in the State.
This was disclosed by the visiting Senior Director, West Africa, MEDA Programs, Pierre Diégane Kadet (Ph.D), during his visit to the State Microfinance Agency on Tuesday 19th July 2022.
Dr Kadet said MEDA Nigeria WAY Project is excited about its collaboration with the Agency saying that “as MEDA Project in the State is time bound, it is always a welcome development to see Government and other partners keying into what was started by others. This is in line with the sustainability plan of our Project in Bauchi State”.
The Senior Director, who was accompanied by MEDA State Program Manager Mrs Grace Forseng and other management officials, further expressed his optimism on the ongoing MIFIN Program of the Agency, saying that MEDA Project in Bauchi State will share some of its approaches, lessons learnt and challenges with a view to having the Agency learn these approaches and ways on how to mitigate some of the challenges encountered during MEDA’s Project Implementation.
Dr Kadet also commended Bauchi State Government for demonstrating political will and also creating the enabling environment for the successes so far recorded under the ongoing MEDA Nigeria WAY Project.
In his response, the Director General (DG) of Bauchi State Agency for Sustainable Microfinance, Alhaji Muhammad Nura Dan’madami thanked the Regional Director of West Africa MEDA Programs and the MEDA State team for the visit which he described as historic.
The DG informed the visiting team that the Agency was established by the Bauchi State Government to coordinate the activities of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and other community based financing entities in relation to supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and group based cooperatives, with a view to reducing poverty among vulnerable groups in the state.
Dan’madami informed the visitors that since his assumption in office as DG, the Agency had carried out an extensive study on how Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) carry out their activities in relation to community/group-based financing of petty businesses.
He pointed out that the study had revealed a series of challenges that have reduced such MFIs to almost non-performing entities, thus negating the primary objective of setting them up, which was to support rural-based community groups in their efforts to grow and sustain their petty enterprises.
According to the DG, the major challenges of such MFIs are lack of technical capacity to run the MFIs, non-availability of capital for loans, over-bloated overhead costs and also reaching out to the hard-to-reach communities.
“It against this background that the Agency designed a program known as Microfinance Institution Building Program for Poverty Reduction (MIFIN)”, Dan’madami said.
The DG of the Agency informed Dr. Kedat and his team that the MIFIN program is aimed at strengthening the capacity of microfinance institutions and member-based groups with a view to establishing linkages for a viable and sustainable microfinance system, stressing that, “the ultimate goal of MIFIN program is to enhance access of the economically active poor to finance for improved business productivity and poverty reduction”.
While commending MEDA for their interest in the activities of the Agency, Dan’madami said the Agency also saw a window of opportunity in collaboration with the MEDA Project and quickly reached out to them, pointing out that, “Already the Agency has signed an MoU with MEDA for technical support and transfer of knowledge on how the Project has been implementing it’s program, which has recorded tremendous success in Seven (7) LGAs of the State”.
He said the Agency intends to pick up from where MEDA stops and also upscale it across the entire 20 LGAs of the State, using some of the existing group-based structures established by MEDA.
He said that though the challenges are huge, but with MEDA’s years of experience in triggering group-based financial structures and existing collaboration, the agency hopes to learn and build on that before the exit of MEDA Project in the State.
“This collaboration will translate into upscaling the already established MEDA’s member-based groups in the 7 LGAs of the State you are intervening, by replicating same across the 20 LGAs of Bauchi State”, said Nura Dan’madami.
The DG said that he hopes MEDA, under the signed MoU, will train MIFIN staff on the MEDA’s adopted model and also provide project implementation support, while the Agency on its part will manage the existing MEDA’s clients for financial inclusion linkages, upscaling and sustainability.”
The Director General disclosed that MIFIN program is targeting at least 100 beneficiaries in each of 323 wards of Bauchi State.
“The program will be implemented in the 323 wards spread across the 20 Local Government Areas, with an estimated 807,500 poorest of the poor and vulnerable groups that include: women, youth and persons living with disability”, said Dan’madami.