The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted approval to Nigeria’s first financial institution that will cater to small-scale maritime investors, importers and other port operators.
The Maritime Microfinance Bank will formally commence operation on December 1, and will be fully dedicated to servicing the maritime industry in Nigeria. A director and promoter of the bank, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, said the new MMFB has been set up to fill a yawning gap in the financial services industry by offering small loans, or micro-loans, to maritime industry operators and workers who were unable to access conventional loan services in the country.
“The birth of the Maritime MFB is a culmination of several years of research and team work between several well-meaning people who are passionate about growing the maritime industry,” Akinola said.”This is the starting point for us. We are embarking on a revolution in the provision of financial solutions for the maritime industry. We are starting as a unit micro-finance bank, but our vision is to evolve into a full-fledged commercial bank fully dedicated to the growth and development of the maritime industry,” he stated.
The MMFB, according to him, will use small and micro-loans to develop small businesses based on their existing talents and skill sets. “Dockworkers, freight forwarders, truckers, port workers, staff of private companies and government organisations who mostly have challenges accessing small loans can now heave a sigh of relief as the bank for them has finally come.
“Access to finance is an invaluable element that brings growth and development to any sector of the economy. It also helps in realising full economic capabilities of the people,” said Akinola, who is also the chief executive officer of Ships & Ports Communication Company.
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