Small and Medium Enterprises are nearing collapse as majority of them who are customers of Microfinance Banks in Osogbo and other parts of Osun State are currently lamenting the inability of their banks to fulfill their financial needs due to scarcity of the new Naira notes.
Checks at Ilobu Microfinance Bank, Ilobu, Irepodun local government, Olubashiri Microfinance Bank and Ospoly Microfinance Bank, both in Osogbo showed that some customers are already agitated as they were unable to get cash from their microfinance banks.
A customer identified as Bilikisu Akeem said her micro business is on the verge of being ruined by her inability to access money from her bank.
She said the development has made it impossible for her to buy foodstuffs from villages and bring them to the urban centre.
"I have been here since morning. I was here yesterday (Tuesday) and the bank said they have no money.
"Someone like me, I buy farm produce from villages and bring it here to sell. But since last week, it has been difficult."
Efforts to speak with bank officials proved abortive as they refused to speak with journalists.
But an official of a microfinance bank in Osogbo who spoke under condition of anonymity said the refusal of the Central Bank of Nigeria to include microfinance banks in its plan for the replacement of old naira notes with new ones is responsible for the collapse of operations of the banks.
"In the last three weeks, commercial banks that are giving us money to run have stopped doing that.
"Each of us operators of microfinance banks has commercial banks working with us to ensure that we have smooth operations.
“But in the last three weeks, those commercial banks have not been giving us money.
"They told us that the CBN had directed them to stop giving us money.
"In Osun here, we have 22 microfinance banks and our officials met CBN officials in the Osogbo branch of the Apex Bank and they told us we can’t get money.
“They said we can only get money through some super PoS operators that they have assembled.
"Imagine licensed microfinance banks getting money through PoS operators that are not licensed or regulated by anyone.
"Many of our officials did not come to work to avoid being attacked by our customers.
"That is the situation we have found ourselves in.”
When contacted, the Osun State Chairman of the National Association of Microfinance Banks, Tunde Lawal confirmed the challenges.
He added that the national headquarters of the association is attending to it.
“It is true operations in most of our microfinance banks in Osun have collapsed over lack of cash to pay customers.
"But I will not want to comment further. You can contact our national body for more reaction."
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