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CIBN advocates improved agric financing for economic growth

By Victor Uzoho
30 November 2018   |   4:22 am
The President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Uche Olowu has said that agric financing is very vital for sustainable growth...

The President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Uche Olowu has said that agric financing is very vital for sustainable growth of the nation’s economy, uplifting the poor out of poverty and for inclusion of the unbanked citizens financially.

Speaking to The Guardian during the institute’s 2018 Fellowship Investiture programme recently in Lagos, Olowu said that as a specialized type of lending, agric financing would revolutionalize the sector, noting that there are lots of resources that could be channelled into agriculture.

His words: “We are commoditizing our certifications and competencies and agric financing is very critical to the nation’s economy if we have to lift the poor and the unbanked and so we are setting a special certification in agric financing because it’s a specialized lending.

“A lot of resources need to be channelled into agriculture because as people understand what they are supposed to do, to de-risk agriculture, the value chain will do better.”

He also disclosed plans by CIBN, to collaborate the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), in making sure that the aspiration of boosting the agric sector through financing comes to fruition without many delays.

Also, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOA, Mohammed Adams, said that there have been collaborations between BOA and NIRSAL on how to make access to agric loan easier for the farmers.

According to Adams, collaborations with CIBN would solidify farmers’ access to agric finance and would help in the development of models that would be sustainable in the agric space.

He said: “I want to tell farmers that the odds are changing internationally in agriculture and people should own up their responsibilities and obligations. While we all are partnering to ensure that their requirements are met, they should also be able to repay whatever that is given to them.

“What we have is a pool of resources from the federal government of Nigeria’s development partners and investors, and that means that we need to revolve the money around so that every person that is a key player in the agric industry benefits.”

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NIRSAL, Aliu Abduhalib, stated that the recent recognition of agric financing institutions which are NIRSAL and BOA by CIBN, shows that agriculture financing and risk management is being mainstreamed.

He said, “For CIBN to bring us up to this level to recognize what we do, means that farmers and the agric industry are in for a good time particularly when you combine the capacities of risk management of NIRSAL and the capacity of the BOA to deploy funds to all the value chain actors, you cannot ask for a better match and we are happy. to be recognized by the CIBN.

“If the owners of commercial finance as represented by bank’s, could recognize the space of development finance and recognized NIRSAL and BOA, it means that the agric value chain actors, those that are in the farming component, input supply, logistics and storage and those that are in the export and industrial markets are to expect good things to come.

“I said so because when you combine the balance sheets of commercial banks in Nigeria, with the balance sheets of development finance institutions, you will. have huge amount of resources and these are monies meant to support farmers and and other actors to borrow and utilize, so that others can also enjoy those facilities.”

He implored people to use the opportunity of the combined resources of bank financing and development financing to promote the course of agriculture business in Nigeria. He urged them to pay back any fund gotten from either commercial financing or developmental financing, as the monies are not for free and non payment of such funds would lead to the collapse of the whole model.