Simon Sani in Yola
The Boko Haram incessant attacks and the perennial floods on Adamawa state communities have brought nothing but pains and hardship to residents in the state. Breadwinners killed by the insurgents leaving their wives and children with nothing to survive on.
Their homes and businesses were also destroyed leaving them hopeless and without anything to earn a living .These victims of Boko Haram and the perennial flood only survive on the alms that spirited individuals give to them daily. However some of them needed a small amount of money as capital to enable them go into small scale business to aid them bounce back.
But things have beginning to take shape for some of them who got aid from Bonghe Microfinance Bank situated in Numan town of the state..Things are looking up at Bonghe for the significance roles it has played at alleviating the sufferings of these victims of Boko Haram attacks or flood by disbursing over N400 million access from Central Bank as loan at concessionary rate across the state.
The Chairman of the Bank, Barrister Leonard Nzadon ,while speaking during the bank shareholders annual general meeting last Saturday in Numan said the Bank came up with positive idea to access fund of over N400 million under two CBN programmes of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) with aim at developing the economic activities small scale industries and businesses that were destroyed by the insurgents when they held swayed in seven local government areas of the state.
He said the programmes also brought the bank into limelight by making its popularity to the state and the CBN adding that the CBN has also congratulated the bank for accessing and recovering all Micro Loans 100 percent within 12 months of disbursement .
The chairman explained that the programmes gave a big lift to Micro ,small and medium economic and business activities in the state especially those destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency.
According to him, the greatest legacy of the bank is to give the hopeless hope and it was a government policy enacted by Former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida that allows communities to set up their own banks through government encouragement and supervision.
These Communities banks were to cater for the masses at the grassroots who could not come to town to invest and also gets loan facilities to help them in their businesses or farming activities so as grows the economic of the nation.
Nzadon said 80 percent of Communities banks that were established with Bonghe Microfinance bank have been liquidated adding for the bank to still thriving ,it means that the board of directors and staff are rely putting in their best.
He added that the bank has contributed immensely to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of economic and natural disaster and rebuilding of schools and some communities touched by the insurgents in Girei LGA.
However following the significant role the bank has played over the years , the Adamawa State Government has invited it to access N121 million out of N210 million available funds to disburse to farmers as Agric loans at concessionary rate especially to communities liberated from grips of the insurgency .
As relative peace is beginning to return in those liberated communities the Adamawa state government thought in its wisdom to disburse funds as loans to farmers and boost small businesses in the state. through the used of some Microfinance bank and other means so as safe guard government funds, so that others will benefit too.
The Bank has rebuild schools, houses and shops in Girei Local Government area (LGA) destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency and some parts of Numan LGA as part of the bank’s social responsibilities to it host community..
Beneficiaries from the bank.
Mr Tumba Amadu who hails in Michika before the insurgents struck the town told TGnews that he was one of the beneficiaries of the bank’s loan adding that the day the insurgents struck Michika and destroyed his shop, he and his wife and children narrowly escaped the onslaught of the Boko Haram that day to the state capital where they have to depend on others to survive.
Amadu said they were living from hand to mouth as he said it was by the grace of God that he was included in the loan programme of Bonghe Microfinance Bank as he said he use the loan he collected from the bank to start his business again but he said today the story is different because he is able to cater for his family through his small business.
Mrs Cecilia Jocab said she also benefitted from the loan and applauded the bank for it tremendous supports to the masses especially those who have small scale businesses.while Yakubu Salah was of the opinion that the bank should be upgraded from Microfinance to a commercial bank but with a focus toward to aiding the masses.
Some shareholders of the bank said the bank was doing well and called on the people of the state to invest in the bank as they noted that were impressed with the way the bank was fast growing and just needed support from the residents to buy more shares so upgrade its status.
The Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr Dimas Haniel said since the establishment of the bank in 1992 during the former president Ibrahim Babagida ‘s regime the bank have continue to wax stronger on daily basis unlike other Micro Finance banks which had been liquidated due to mismanagement and fraud.
He said the bank has trained t4 of its staff on Mandatory ,Microfinance Certification Programme as he said “your bank continues to give prominent attentions to capacity building and development of staff through training (in-house and external) and encouragement of self development”
According to the MD ” presently 11 staff have qualified in the Mandatory ,Microfinance Certification Programme and three staff are awaiting the final result and if successful by the end of this month , the number will rise to 14″
Challenges of the Bank.
Nzadon said one of the major challenge of the bank is funding and added that faced a major attacked from the staff of Dangote Sugar Company who have their salaries account with the bank. ” on one faithful day , they were told by some their management staff that the company had sent their salaries to the bank unfortunately it was not true. He said while the bank was waiting for alert to started payment closed to closing hours .
The Dangote staff could not bear the situation anymore , so they break into the bank in their hundreds to force the bankers to pay them as he narrated the it was with help of the vigilante and policemen they were dispersed .” We have written to Dangote Sugar Company costing the level of damaged for them to pay and failure to do so we will take them to court” he said.
Nzadon said the insurgency also affected their operations adding that another problem is exchanged rate of the Naira in the foreign market which as a result skyrocketed the price of commodities and food stuff . ” The shortfall in fuel supply from the NNPC by the last quarters of the year worsen the situation and back log of unpaid salaries to Civil Servants and contractors also added to the problem of lack of cash in circulation to the business environment .