NIGERIA – The Heritage Bank Plc has partnered with the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) in a bid to improve the agriculture value chain though increasing financing to the sector.

The partnership will lead to the identification and secured financing of impactful agribusinesses within all the segments of the agricultural value chain.

The financing will cover segments from primary production of raw materials and sustaining the processing industries to exportation of the produce, reports the Vanguard.

Ifie Sekibo, the Managing Director of Heritage Bank, said that the partnership will avail credits at very low interest rates to commercially viable agricultural projects that have been packaged and fully de-risked.

He disclosed that arrangements have been concluded by the bank to revolutionise agricultural sector by widening and deepening the participation of digital generation in agribusiness.

He noted that the continued support of NIRSAL would help the bank take develop a digital agribusiness platform that will strengthen distribution of human capital that meet parameters of agribusiness.

Aliyu Abdulhameed, the managing director of NIRSAL, highlighted the need of complete visibility of the sector, which can be achieved through equipment, technology and financial capital injection.

He commended the Heritage Bank for its concerted efforts in supporting agric sector in continuation with its partnership with NIRSAL, whilst assuring it of priority ticket to support the bank’s unique feats to the growth of the agricultural value chain.

He said that NIRSAL will work to serve as a catalyst for national agricultural revolution by boosting commercial agricultural productivity, competitiveness, value addition, market access and enhancing food security.

NISRAL will deploy mechanism of de-risking the agricultural value chain in order to encourage investment by banks and the entire financial sector.

Government privatises Bank of Agriculture

The federal government of Nigeria has privatised its Bank of Agriculture (BoA) as part of the government’s efforts to stabilise and commercialise the financial institution.

Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance would own 20 per cent capital each while the private sector and investors would have 20 per cent shares.

The Bank is expected to have a capital structure of US$693.16 million (N250bn).

“CBN will own 20 per cent, Ministry of Finance- 20 per cent, private sector/corporate groups, including investors, will have 20 per cent and farmers will have 40 per cent shares,” he said.