The Bayelsa State government has assured that it will give all necessary support to the state-owned Izon-Ebe Micro-Finance Bank (IMFB), to enable it achieve financial self-sustenance.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the assurance when the Management Board of the bank led by its Chairman, Chief Ayakeme Whiskey, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo applauded the leadership of the bank for taking the bold step towards achieving financial self-reliance, through the utilization of available capacities.
Describing the move as a welcome development, the Deputy Governor assured that government would give the IMFB the needed assistance to enable it overcome its immediate challenges including funding gaps.
Responding to the IMFB proposal of providing banking services for local government workers and primary school teachers in the state, Senator Ewhrudjakpo stressed the need to carry out a proper feasibility assessment before transferring staff salary accounts from where they are.
He noted that over 70 percent of local government workers have sourced and obtained loans from commercial banks, adding that such workers have to pay up their loan liabilities before they can migrate to the IMFB.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo therefore advised IMFB to meet with the management of the various councils, workers’ unions, commercial banks and other critical stakeholders to work out the right modalities for such transfer.
He also suggested that the IMFB should look at the possibility of incorporating community banking services in its rural operations to broaden its clientele and profitability.
Presenting a proposal earlier, the Board Chairman of the Izon-Ebe Micro-Finance Bank, Ayakeme Whiskey, thanked the state government for releasing about N200 million for the bank as part of efforts to recapitalize the bank.
He, however, appealed to the state government to direct the transfer of council workers and primary school school teachers’ salary accounts to the IMFB to strengthen its operations and competitive capacity.
According to Whiskey, if the IMFB is given the mandate to manage accounts of the local government staff, primary school teachers, and those of the junior secondary schools, it would provide enough business for the bank to be able to declare dividends and increase the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state.
The Chairman was accompanied in the visit by the bank’s Managing Director, Nengi Rufus-Spiff; the Director of Finance and Budget, Micah Anthony, and the Director of Business Development and Credit Risk Management, Eneyi Zidougha.