By Babajide Komolafe
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday released the modalities for the operation of the N26.87 billion Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).
Among other things, the scheme, approved at the Bankers Committee meeting held in February 2017, would be managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Banker’s Fund Managers Limited, while the Board of Directors (BoD) monitors the implementation of the scheme.
In a statement announcing the modalities the CBN said: “The initiative is to support the Federal Government’s efforts and policy measures for the promotion of agricultural business and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as vehicle for sustainable economic development and employment generation.
“The mode of operation of the initiative released by the CBN indicates that the scheme requires all banks in Nigeria to set aside 5% of their profit after tax annually for equity investment in Agri-business and SMEs, which has so far garnered the sum of N26.87billion from twenty-one (21) banks to be invested in projects approved by the Board of Directors of the scheme.”
CBN listed, the activities to benefit from the scheme as agricultural investments such as production, storage, processing, logistics and marketing. Also SMEs in the real and services sectors which are backward integrated into manufacturing, agriculture, mining and modular refineries would benefit from the scheme.
Also included are technological endeavours such as local initiatives in information and communication technology (ICT) and any other activities as may be determined by the Bankers’ Committee from time to time.
CBN further stated: “This new initiative targeted at Start-ups and expansion of established companies or reviving of ailing companies is expected to further enhance job creation and agri-business towards sustainable economy.”