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Dhaka Tribune

150 more NGOs get licence for microcredit lending

Each of these NGOs showed Tk30 lakh in their respective bank account as deposit for starting operations

Update : 19 Nov 2022, 05:30 PM

The government has provided a conditional licence to some 150 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to run microcredit operations across the country.

The licence of the new microfinance institutions (MFIs) is conditional for three years to prove their capabilities, according to the Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA).

Each organization must show a minimum of 300 small clients and outstanding loans amounting to Tk40 lakh in the first year, minimum 600 clients and Tk70 lakh loan in the second year, and minimum 1,000 clients and Tk1 crore loan in the third year for getting the final licence.

Each of these NGOs showed Tk30 lakh in their respective bank account as deposit for starting operations.

The amount will be used for providing small loans -- subject to the MRA's permission, according to its circular.

The MRA started awarding licence last December after an eight-year break to expand small-loan operations in new areas across the country.

Last February, the regulator invited applications following rising interest among new NGOs, which had sought licence for lending to poor people under the government's recipe for making them self-reliant through undertaking vocations.

The NGOs that are registered under any of these laws -- the Societies Registration Act, the Trust Act 1882, the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance 1961, and the Company Act 1994 -- were eligible to apply for licence.

The NGOs that were engaged in various development activities, except microcredit operations, qualified for obtaining licence.

In July 2006, the then government enacted the Microcredit Regulatory Authority Act 2006 -- to bring the NGOs-MFIs under a regulatory framework -- which became effective from August 27, 2006.

The MRA then invited applications for the first time for microcredit operations, especially for legalizing those which had already been in operation.

In the second phase, the MRA invited applications from 37 poverty-stricken districts and received 1,212 bids.

The regulator marked out these areas to avoid overlapping of small lending/borrowing services and also to help meet goals of the government's poverty alleviation programs.

The MRA finally awarded 122 licences in 2014 after three years of observation.

However, the regulator cancelled licences of 143 NGOs-MFIs in different phases for compliance-related deficiencies.

Currently, around 750 NGOs-MFIs are running operations under the regulator.

The registered MFIs are serving around 40 million of the country's estimated 160 million people.

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