NBA launches ‘rainy-day’ fund for lawyers, members to get N2m loans

December 20, 2021
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By Favour Goodness

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has launched a N1.5 billion Stabilisation Fund to sustain its members in cases of extreme financial needs.

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NBA President Olumide Akpata disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, saying that the fund will provide access to finance for lawyers, who may require loans, at single digit, or less than market interest rates.

According to Akpata, under the scheme each borrower could be entitled to the maximum sum of N2 million, adding that the fund already had N1 billion.

He said: “As I mentioned to you during the NBA electioneering campaigns in 2020, the need for a stabilisation or ‘rainy-day’ fund for an association like ours cannot be overemphasised.

“Leading Bar associations around the world have, over the years, set aside significant amounts that they can resort to for their major expenses, especially when there is a considerable fluctuation in their revenues.

“I, therefore, campaigned on the importance of a savings culture and proper investment of our funds at the NBA as a way to not only grow our assets base, but also minimise interference from external bodies that may have a stronghold on the association on account of funding, donations, and grants.

“I also mentioned that access to, and availability of, finance for lawyers is a major issue that requires institutional attention from the NBA.

“I believe that unlocking access to capital for our deserving members is key to improving our law practices, increasing revenue generation for lawyers, and overall bettering our professional lives.

“On that basis, in a recent correspondence to you, I informed you that we, together with the members of the NBA Finance Committee (under the joint leadership of Seni Adio, SAN and Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu), were working on a framework to deal with each of these issues.

“I am pleased to report that the targets that we set for ourselves on those points are now being realised as follows:

“We have set up the NBA Stabilisation Fund which we have already saved up and set aside the sum of N1 billion for, and now commit to having up to N1.5 billon (in the aggregate), at the minimum, deposited in the fund, over the next few months.

“The fund will invest in a portfolio of assets that will generate steady returns for the Association over time.

“A team of subject matter experts have developed investment guidelines on how the Fund will be managed, invested, and utilised.

“The National Executive Council of the NBA approved the establishment of the Fund at its meeting held on 16th December 2021.”

Speaking further he stated:

“We have set up an access to finance scheme for lawyers who may require loans, at single digit, or less than market interest rates, for their working capital and operational needs.

“The scheme involves enabling borrowing by eligible lawyers from two designated commercial banks (First Bank of Nigeria and Access Bank PLC) under an arrangement that is backstopped or cash-backed by the NBA.”

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