LAPO Microfinance disburses N6bn loans

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October 16, 2006/punch



Lift Above Poverty Micro-finance has disbursed N6bn as loans to customers since inception in 1992, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe has said.

LAPO is a Benin, Edo State-based non-governmental organisation and has been one of the pioneering microfinance institutions in Nigeria, which started providing an array of financial services to owners of micro and small enterprises 13 years ago.

Presenting cheques to customers under the LAPO Microfinance Xmas Loan Scheme in Lagos, on Friday Ehigiamusoe said that out of the N6bn, N1.1bn was disbursed in 2005.

“As at September 30, 2006, N1.42bn of the projected N2bn for 2006 has been disbursed with repayment averaging 99.42 per cent,” he said.

According to him, the Xmas Business Loan was introduced to enable existing clients and prospective ones take advantage of the business boom often associated with the festive period.

“Since inception, thousands of our clients have benefited but the demand has been on the increase hence this renewed focus on the product for our clients. LAPO hopes to achieve for each of its clients, over 200 per cent increases in volume of business activities for the Xmas period. This, we believe from experience will translate into higher profit margin and improved standard of living for the beneficiaries,” he said.

Beneficiaries of the products, who are mostly women, received loans between N30, 000 and N50, 000. The LAPO boss said that about N200m had been set aside for disbursement to about 5,000 clients for the product to clients across the company’s 62 branches/units in eight states of the federation.

Speaking on highly successful repayment rate, he said that LAPO used the group method and allow instalment repayment with little impact on the borrowers’ businesses.

“The installmental repayment plans put into consideration the cash flow of the clients. Besides, we give pre-loan training for our clients with the objective of exposing the clients to basic business methods and cash management,” he said.

According to him, LAPO intend to transform into a microfinance bank and has already applied to the regulatory authorities in that regard.

He commended the government policy on microfinance and said it would go a long in alleviating poverty. He said once operators overcome the problems of funding and inadequate manpower, microfinance business would witness a boom in the years to come.

Meanwhile, LAPO microfinance has won the 2006 Grameen Foundation Excellence microfinance ward.

The Grameen Foundation is in its sixth year of bestowing this award upon outstanding organisations who are leaders in reducing global poverty through microfinance.

In letter to LAPO, the Foundation said, “Your success in extending micro credit to over 65,000 active clients, explaining capacity, capturing resources in innovative ways and pursuing breakthrough strategies is impressive. And by working closely with the Central bank of Nigeria and other microfinance organizations through out Nigeria, your impact is felt beyond your clients.”

The award carries with it a $10,000 prize and will be present to LAPO November 9, 2006 in New York, United States of America.

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