Nigeria: Bankers’ Committee Restates Commitment to Agric Financing

This Day (Lagos)

11 December 2011

The Bankers’ Committee at the weekend reaffirmed its desire to revive the Nigerian agricultural sector by ensuring improved financing to the sector.

Chairman, Bankers’ Sub-Committee on Economic Development, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, stated this at the weekend, in an opening remark presented at a workshop titled: “Financing Agricultural Input Supply Scheme – 2012 Farming Season,” organised by the committee in Lagos at the weekend.

Aig-Imoukhuede pointed out that the meeting was to ensure that the objective of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed early this month between the Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Deposit Money Banks on agricultural financing scheme was achieved.

The agreement had stipulated that the banks/financiers would provide a total loan facility up to N22.689 billion for financing fertilizer and N2.752 billion for seed procurement and distribution, while the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance shall guarantee 70 percent of the loan principal payment under the said scheme.

Amongst others, it said the loan shall be made available to duly registered/approved agricultural input dealers across the six geopolitical zones at a subsidised interest of seven percent per annum.

Aig-Imoukhuede who is also the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, explained: “We have an MoU that has been signed by the chief executive officers of banks who will implement the policy. We must ensure that the objective of getting fertilisers and seeds get to the farmers for the 2012 farming season is achieved.” He also said the workshop was to allow the commercial banks harmonise ideas on the policy.

“It is envisaged that this new and innovative partnership would ensure that at least 5,000,000 farmers have access to these essential agricultural inputs. Most importantly, we must recognise that as Nigerian banks, we have collectively taken a decision to ensure that we begin to participate in the real sector and one of those sectors is the agric sector.

This is a collective decision that we have taken that would change the face of agric financing in the country. Every institution ought to have established and agric department, an agric unit by now, so as part of efforts to achieve that target,” Aig-Imoukhuede added.

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