Says rich rural economy in the interests of all
The Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, (NIRSAL Plc) has facilitated over N148 billion in finance and investments for agriculture and agribusiness.
In a chat with the media, in Abuja, the Managing Director (MD), Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, disclosed that NIRSAL, a wholly-owned corporation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) facilitated over N30 billion into the sector between January last year to date.
According to him, “In the course of the last 13 months, we facilitated the flow of over NGN30billion into agricultural value chains from commercial banks and other sources.
“Even though our operations suffered a stall during the lockdown of 2020, our technological depth gave us a pathway to return to work while remaining safe and socially-distanced. As you know, it was important to continue, even increase, food and raw materials production as the pandemic bit harder.
“As enablers of actors in the agricultural value chain, we remained operational for those who were allowed by the Federal Government to move around for the purpose of producing food and rendering essential services in the society.
“By remaining operational, our numbers grew: As at Q4 2020, we had achieved the following: Facilitated over N148billion in finance and investments for agriculture and agribusiness; aggregated over 3,000 agro geo-cooperatives with 500,000 farmers on nearly 800,000 hectares of land; and enrolled 1.4 million persons onto innovative insurance products designed by NIRSAL in collaboration with a consortium of agricultural insurance underwriters.”
The NIRSAL boss added that the organisation had grown its balance sheet to N140billion, equity by 1,415 per cent, and total assets by 87 per cent through prudent management of its resources.
The MD disclosed that his organisation has recorded an impressive default rate of less than one per cent r, owing to an aggressive monitoring and remediation strategy.
His words, “We have less than one per cent default. This is made possible because we have a system in which we have Project Monitoring Reporting and Remediation Offices in all 36 states of the federation and Abuja. What the officers do is closely monitor the progress of the beneficiaries of the facilities to ensure that the projects, succeed.
“We are not like banks that would give loans and then sit in their offices, waiting for the customers to repay the loans at the end of their businesses. Our officers go to the farms and monitor the progress of the activities.
Rich rural economy
Mr Abdulhameed pointed out that it was in the enlightened self-interest of the Nigerian elite and the general public to work for a rich rural economy.
According to him, NIRSAL has been undertaking a revolution in the nation’s rural economy, by attracting private capital into the agricultural sector, as well as, agri-business.
He said that if the rural economy was rich, rural dwellers would make enough money to live comfortable lives. It would reduce rural-urban migration and the pressure on cities would be less; while banditry, kidnapping on the highways, and other forms of criminality would reduce to the barest minimum.
The NIRSAL boss said that farming has become a money-spinner as NIRSAL has brought banks to invest heavily in the sector, where higher yield and productivity has put much more money into the hands of many farmers than they ever imagined.