As part of its economic empowerment agenda, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said it has disbursed a total of N366.39 billion for the execution of 465 projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, CACS, from 2009 to date.
The Scheme, established to address the financing challenges of the entire value chain, such as production, processing, storage and marketing/distribution of agricultural produce in the country.
The Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who disclosed this at the International Conference on Environment Dialogue on: “Diversification of Economy: The Role of Jatropha,” said the apex bank provided finance to commercial farmers at single digit interest rate.
Represented by Dr. Aisha Mahmud, he said the dialogue could not have come at a better time than now, when the current global economic crisis required game-changing transformations to achieve resilient and sustainable growth through economic diversification.
“The bank as a major stakeholder in the financing value chain has a number of development finance interventions which have producers, processors and other significant players in the jatropha value chain can access in order to realise the desired objectives.”
To Emefiele, the financial sector had developed and adopted Nigeria sustainable principles as a commitment to promote sustainable growth, adding that the use of Jatropha as a bio-energy crop for the production of biodiesel which is carbon-neutral is a welcome development.
He, therefore, hinted that the banking industry is currently developing a roadmap to increase lending and investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency in line with the global momentum on climate finance. “There are Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Fund, MSMEDF; Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP; and Real Sector Support Facility, RSSF, put in place to encourage agriculture as a means of diversifying the economic base,” the CBN boss disclosed.
He explained that the objectives of these facilities are for the provision of cheap wholesale funds, deepening access to finance, job creation and grassroots economic development, pointing out that as at June 2016, a total of N81.13 billion was disbursed for 315 projects nationwide.
His words: “This renewed emphasis on the cultivation of and processing of Jatropha is therefore, an investment opportunity that can address the current economic challenges as well as harmonised framework for biofuel production.”
Giving the Dialogue objectives, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, acknowledged huge investment in developing and looking at the role of jatropha, which she maintained, would empower people and create decent jobs for women and youths. To her, government wants to establish a mechanism for securing technical and financial support of international partners/investors interested in jatropha production and processing in Nigeria.