- Give Loans to Farmers, NIRSAL Urges Banks
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agriculture Lending has appealed to commercial banks to start giving loans to farmers and others players in the agricultural sector in order to enhance food security in the country.
The Head of the Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remedian Office of NIRSAL in Osogbo, Mr Yemi Akande, said this in an interview with journalists in Osogbo on Thursday at the ongoing sensitisation campaign for operators in the agricultural value chain.
He said, “It will be difficult for Nigeria to achieve food sufficiency, stimulate growth in the agro-allied industries and produce millionaire farmers if banks refuse to give credit facility to operators in agricultural value chain.
“The major fear expressed by commercial banks in giving loans to farmers is the risk involved in agro financing as change in yield and other challenges could impede the capacity of farmers to pay back loans, thereby creating problems for the lenders.
“But to mitigate this challenge, the Federal Government, through the CBN came up with the agency (NIRSAL) to bear 75 per cent of risk previously born by the banks in agricultural lending, hence the lenders should have no or less worry.”
To ensure that farmers were equipped with entrepreneurial skills, Akande stated that the agency would train operators in the agricultural sector on new skills and best agricultural practices to improve their yields.
The Manager, Bank of Agriculture, Osogbo branch, Mr Isaac Faniyi, said Nigerian farmers needed to acquire the necessary skills and information to improve their productivity.
Faniyi said the lack of necessary skills was why the large number of people engaged in farming could not produce enough for local consumption let alone export.
The bank manager also said government needed to employ agricultural extension workers who would go from village to village to educate farmers on best agricultural practices.
According to him, Nigerian farmers also need to reduce the quantity of chemicals they use to grow crops, saying that is one of the factors responsible for rejection of some crops from Nigeria in the western world.
Some of the farmers present at the seminar identified lack of good roads to their farms and other amenities as some of the factors militating against their business growth.
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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption
The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.
The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.
This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.
Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.
The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.
Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.
Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.
Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.
During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.
He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.
Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.
The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.
Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.
The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.
The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.
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