The Governor of the central bank of Sierra Leone, Dr James D Rogers has said that microfinance provides “an excellent window of empowerment” for Sierra Leoneans especially the underprivileged.
Speaking at a two-day workshop in Freetown on providing a legal and regulatory framework for the regulation and supervision of Microfinance Institution and Community Banks, Dr Rogers said that in the recent past the country had operated a number of new microfinance institution.
He said their role had been primarily “to complement the financial growth of Commercial Banks in the country.”
The Bank of Sierra Leone Governor said the driving force behind the move was because the rural areas commercial banks had not had much presence partly because of the relatively high cost associated with their activities.
The situation he went on “has been compounded by the inability of poor people to provide collateral for loans.”
Recently, Dr Rogers had expressed concerns that there were several providers of micro credit finance “with each agent implementing its own scheme”. He had also said that there were no policy guidelines to regulate or coordinate the framework, hence “no transparency in their activities”.
This he said had the tendency to undermine good initiatives in the sector.
The Governor said the government had therefore expressed deep concern and desire to improve the living conditions of the people “…and microfinance has been [spotted as one of the] vehicles in achieving this project”.
The workshop was organized by the central bank in collaboration with the Microfinance Investment and Technical Assistant Facility (MITAF).
Deputy Finance Minister, Alhaji S Marah who opened the workshop said it was in line with the Poverty Reduction Strategy aimed at alleviating poverty.