The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has facilitated the disbursement of about N66.36 billion since 2013, when it started operation, the Chief Executive Officer, Aliyu Hameed, has said.
He disclosed this at the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) 2017 Conference and Agriculture Expo, held yesterday in Abuja.
Hammed said the institution, which is solely owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was setup to ease risk of credit lending to farmers, adding that despite the agricultural potential in the country, capital was a major challenge.
He disclosed that Nigerians cannot eat potential but needed capital, which comprises finance, capital equipment, human capital as well as technology, to really drive the sector and achieve food sufficiency.
His words: “In the last three and half years up to the moment, we have been able to catalase facilitate up to N66.36b in additional lending to the entire value-chain in agriculture and we paid up to N940 million directly as interest drawback to the borrowers account.
“The interest drawback is a key support component. If you borrow money and you are able to payback as at when due, in the NIRSAL model, you can come back every three months and we give you up to 40 per cent rebate.”
Hameed restated NIRSAL support to the rural farmers, mechanization suppliers and other members of the NABG to process their logistics and facilitate both local and foreign markets.
He assured bankers and other investors of his commitment to de-risk investments in the agricultural value-chain.
“Whatever happens to their money based on the level of guarantee we give, such an investor and financiers can come back to us and say there is a loss. We then pay you back whatever you lose based on our agreement so it will enable you reinvest,” he added.
Earlier, President of the NABG, Alhaji Sani Dangote described the conference as opportunity to discuss issues affecting the sector and provide workable solutions, as well as develop new innovations that could boost agricultural productivity.
He urged the stakeholders to put a stop to being over-dependent on the Federal Government, stressing that the private sector remains vital to repositioning the sector while federal government is expected to create workable environment.
“The government should listen to us and should come up with policies that will develop the sector.
We should be able to influence their ideas to see the reality because we are the actual participants. We are the ones to get it done, government is just the facilitator.”