CBN Proposes Non-interest Facility For ABP, Others

  • Offers N432bn for 2020 farming season
CBN in new moves

BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to further boost its intervention programmes that support households as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To this end, the apex bank says it will soon publish a framework to integrate Non-Interest Window (NIW) in all its financial instruments, especially the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) focused on growing and developing the nation’s economy.

In addition, the CBN is proposing about N432 billion to finance the value chains of nine commodities for this year’s farming season.

The good news came from CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor and Yila Yusuf, Director, Development Finance Department, who jointly represented the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at a stakeholders meeting to review successes recorded under the ABP and strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season.

Okorafor said creating a non-interest window (NIW) followed appeals by concerned stakeholders that the apex bank considers farmers across the country for funding under the programme.

According to him, work has been concluded on the funding document, adding that the policy will be issued shortly outlining how farmers under the category can apply and benefit from CBN’s agricultural programmes.

Okorafor said for this year’s wet season, CBN is fully committed to aggressively fund its agricultural programmes and spur farmers along select crop value chains to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world.

On the TCF meant to cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19 on individuals and small businesses, he said CBN is focused on boosting the economy and engendering growth to ensure Nigeria does not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Consequently, the CBN Spokesman said the Governor, Mr Emefiele, has directed the bank’s Development Finance Department Bank as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank (NMFB) to fast-track the approval process of loans aimed at reviving businesses and restoring livelihoods.

Also speaking, CBN’s Director, Development Finance Department, Mr Yusuf, said the wet season target is to provide for about N432 billion, through participating banks, in the value chains of nine commodities.

He said over 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over one million hectares of farmland, will benefit from the loans meant to assist them produce a collective output of 8.3 million metric tons.

Yusuf explained that the focus is on providing improved seeds to incentivize the farmers to return to their farms, adding that CBN adopted the value chain approach across all the commodities to ensure every player along the entire value chain, from the farmers through to the processors, is properly financed.

Disclosing that ABP’s funding for this year is the highest since its inception in 2015, Yusuf described it as significant given the successes recorded in the 2019 season.

He said this success story helped in shielding Nigeria from food shortage in the heat of the global lockdown as some major producing countries of staples, such as rice, closed their silos and halted the export of those produce from their respective countries.

At the meeting held on Thursday, June 18, 2020, were the Presidents of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Alhaji Aminu Goronyo; National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Mr Anibe Achimugu; Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar; and the Maize Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN), Dr Edwin Uche.

They all expressed satisfaction with the ABP’s success, noting that the programme has enhanced the value chains of their respective commodities.

Pledging their support for continued implementation of the ABP to generate employment and create wealth, the association presidents assured that loans accessed by farmers will be promptly recovered towards sustaining the programme.

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