The challenges faced by the Bank of Zambia in regulation and Supervision of Microfinance Institutions

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Ndovi, Lushomo
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This research paper highlights the challenges that the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) faces in regulating and supervising microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Zambia, following the coming into effect of the Banking and Financial Services (Microfinance) Regulations in 2006. Some of the challenges identified include (1) Licensing challenges, including institutional forms and documentation, ownership and corporate governance issues, and compliance with the regulations and other applicable laws. For example, most of the MFIs were registered as either companies limited by guarantee or non-governmental organizations under the Companies Act and the Registrar of Societies, respectively, while the regulations required MFIs to be companies that were limited by shares; and (2) BOZ capacity, including the development of microfinance supervisory tools and building its staff capabilities to effectively and efficiently regulate and supervise the MFIs. The paper also recommends some incentives and other interventions that the government and other key stakeholders could provide to MFIs in order to promote financial inclusion. These include (1) Government should help create an enabling environment for the sound and stable growth and development of the microfinance industry in Zambia through the development of the microfinance policy and effective implementation of the key legislation and regulations i.e. the Banking and Financial Services Act and Microfinance Regulations, and continuous reviews of legal, regulatory and supervisory frameworks to embrace current innovations; and (2) infrastructure development such as efficient operation of the credit reference bureau, credit rating, consumer protection and rights, and financial education, etc; and development of appropriate performance standards and documentation tools.