From Uche Usim and Nsisong Morgan, Abuja
The Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive- based Risk Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL), Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed yesterday disclosed that about N50 billion has been injected into the agriculture financing scheme to boost productivity and guarantee food security.
He added that the funds will engineer agriculture modernisation as increased bank lending to the sector will afford farmers room to farm with modern tools and technology.
Speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered with Standard Bank Investment Corporation (STANBIC-IBTC), Abudulhameed said the partnership covers NIRSAL supported projects in livestock, crops, mechanisation, logistics and poultry.
He however said that the first phase of the scheme was projected to create over 92, 000 jobs, impact about 200, 000 lives, boost income of local farmers, as well as complementing government’s efforts to drive inclusive economic growth through agriculture.
He explained that under the terms of the partnership, (NIRSAL) is to provide credit guarantees to cover up to 75 percent of STANBIC IBTC loans and bankable agricultural projects using its $ 300M Risk Sharing Facility (RSF).
The NISRAL boss also noted that the partnership was in line with its mandate to attract private sector finance into agriculture.
“This partnership marks the start of NIRSAL’s long-term collaboration with STANBIC IBTC to ensure that commercial agriculture is entrenched and made a mainstream occupation. It is testament to our shared vision for agriculture as a profitable enterprise and a key driver of the Nigerian economy.
“We need commitment by providing STANBIC IBTC with the cover to lend to agriculture and we are happy that its management has agreed to partner with us in these projects”, he noted.
In his remark, the Managing Director, STANBIC IBTC, Dr. Demola Sogunle, expressed hopes that the partnership will create growth in the diversification policy of the Federal Government.
“This partnership that we got today and the landmark that we are celebrating today, recording about a N50 billion agric finance scheme is the beginning of the diversification of what we call the revenue base of the country”, he said.
He further disclosed that STANBIC IBTC, had contributed N10 billion to the scheme, assuring that it would play a significant role in impacting positively on the lives of small farmers as well creating massive employment
He also noted that STANBIC IBTC came as the first bank to collaborate with NIRSAL, even as he assured that the scheme would turn the country from oil base revenue to agriculture.
“Stanbic Bank is coming forward as the first bank to subscribe to the mission, vision and the commitment of NIRSAL. We went through our risk management, risk criteria and we came up with a product programme to the size of N10 billion and that is just first one of the Journeys, which is to turn agric, to turn the total value chain of that sector to something that can be attractive and generate revenue to for the country”, he stated.
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