More opportunities emerge in agri-business funding

By Emeka Anaeto, Business Editor

The Nigerian banking and finance landscape is now expanding in funding opportunities with a good number of funding schemes targeted at the real sector including manufacturing, agri-business funding, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amongst several specialized segments of the economy.

But many potential beneficiaries targeted in each of the funding scheme hardly know the existence of the opportunity let alone how to access them.

In this report we present some information on the special agriculture sector funding scheme, the Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) created by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in which each non-interest deposit Banks are to set aside 5% of their Profit After Tax, PAT, annually as contribution to the Fund.

The CBN, recently, unveiled guidelines for the Non-Interest Financial Institutions (NIFIs) under the AGSMEIS and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).

The guidelines also included the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) and seven other intervention schemes in its bouquet.

ALSO READ: Nigeria small businesses face N617.3bn funding gaps annually — PWC

How the AGSMEIS works

The CBN would create a Fund to be known as ‘AGSMEIS Non-Interest Fund’ that will be domiciled in a dedicated account with the apex bank.

Each non-interest deposit Bank (full-fledged or window) was to set aside 5% of its Profit After Tax (PAT) annually as contribution to the Fund.

Each non-interest Deposit Bank was also to transfer its contribution to the CBN not later than 10 working days after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the participating bank.

Eligible activities under the Scheme are businesses across the agricultural value chain, covering production, inputs supply, storage, processing, logistics and marketing.

Others included micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the real sector including manufacturing, ICT, mining, petrochemicals and the creative industry as well as other activities as the CBN may determine from time to time.

How to access fund

The application of the Fund shall be categorised into three broad components. They are debt, equity and developmental components.

The debt component shall constitute 50% of the fund which shall be disbursed as financings to eligible businesses through Non-Interest Deposit Money Banks.

Asset purchased shall be registered with the National Collateral Registry (NCR).

The maximum loan that can be obtained from the fund is N10,000,000 (N10 million). The interest rate is set at 5% per annum.

The tenor of the loan is up to seven years depending on the nature/gestation period of the business project.

Documentation Requirements

Some of the document expected from the prospective loan beneficiary includes:

* Duly completed application form.

* Bank Verification Number (BVN).

* Certificate of Training from recognised Entrepreneurship Development Institution (EDI) or evidence of membership of organised private sector association.

* Letter of Introduction from any of the following: Clergy, Village Head, District Head, Traditional Ruler, senior civil servant etc (for individuals, microenterprises only).

* Evidence of registration of business name or certificate of incorporation and filing of annual returns (where applicable) in compliance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (1990).

The latest framework is aimed at integrating non-interest window in all the CBN intervention programmes which is expected to support businesses and households that have been impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the apex bank said the integration will focus mainly on its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as well as the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF).

The Scheme will be for start-ups, business expansion or revival of ailing companies and shall be in compliance with provisions of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, BOFIA, (1991) as amended and the principles underpinning operations of NIFIs.
A statement from CBN in respect of this reads, “The MSMEDF for NIFIs guidelines are aimed to channel low return funds to the MSME sub-sector of the Nigerian economy through participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) to enhance access by MSMEs to financial services.

“Similarly, the non-interest guidelines for the AADS are aimed at engaging a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country between now and 2023, in order to reduce unemployment among the youth in the country.”

While the specific objectives of the MSMEDF for NIFIs are to increase the productivity and output of microenterprises, job creation and engender inclusive growth, those of the AADS are to increase agricultural production towards food security, job creation and economic diversification.

VANGUARD

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