Bauchi Farmers to Access N15bn CBN Interest-free Agric Loan

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SegunAwofadeji in Bauchi

Following the provision of N1.5 billion made by Bauchi State Government as contribution to farmers’ equity that will also settle interest charges, farmers in the State can access about N15 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria agricultural loans.

The state Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar stated this at a town hall meeting between Bauchi State Government, Central Bank of Nigeria, Financial Institutions, Anchor Companies, Agro Dealers and Farmers for Anchor Borrowers in Bauchi State.

The governor, who revealed that discussions have reached advanced stages with financial institutions on how to release funds to the benefitting farmers for the success of the programme, noted that provisionsof N1.5 billion in the 2016 budget as his government’s contribution to farmers’ equity is also expected to settle the “interest charged by the banks and allay the fears of farmers who always avoid banks loans”.

“Agriculture no doubt remains the main stay of over 80 per cent of people who reside in both urban and rural areas and remain the only source of food and raw materials to our agro-based industries which henceforth serve as major source of income for our country”, Abubakar said.

While stressing that everybody must contribute to the success of change mantra, he however maintained that the people who are mostly small scale farmers need to be adequately carried along by empowering them to produce more.

He said: “It is in line with the above that the present administration under the leadership of President MuhammaduBuhari launched an agricultural finance programme tagged ‘Anchor Borrowers Scheme’ in November last year in Kebbi State as a pilot project, which is now being replicated in the whole country.”

The governor said the programme is one of the CBN’s policy initiatives that seeks to pursue development objectives of job creation, reduction in food imports and diversification of the economy, by “creating economic linkages between 200,000 smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving capacity utilisation of our integrated mills”.

He promised that Bauchi is among northern states that have the capacity of producing the crops needed to feeding the whole of the country, but lamented that successive regimes have neglected that important sector, and pointed out that if the name of Agricultural Development Programme is mentioned, the entire nation knows it is a serious institution that has curved a niche for itself.

He revealed that the state government has registered over 800,000 farmers under the NAPI programme with a view to having more registered farmers in the State, adding that the vision of his administration in the area of agriculture for the State is empowering the small scale farmers to produce enough needed in feeding the entire population and beyond, thereby making the nation self sufficient in food production, thus making the small scale farmers more empowered.

The governor observed that Bauchi State is blessed with enormous human and untapped land resources that must be harnessed in order to fight the twin evils of hunger and poverty, noting that the State Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with commercial banks, agricultural insurance and apex farmer associations are identified and registered in order to fast track the commencement of the programme.

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Stimulate the Informal Sector to Reduce Hardship, Kwakpovwe Urges FG

Renowned author and publisher of the daily devotional, Our Daily Manna (ODM) Bishop (Dr.) ChrisKwakpovwe, has called on the federal government to find ways of creating incentives to stimulate the informal sector so as to reduce the hardship that Nigerians are exposed to in the face of a tottering economy.
Speaking at a Roundtable with the theme ‘Financial Intelligence: Basic Money Management Skills to Create Wealth’,Kwakpovwesaid, the informal sector should be positioned as the engine of economic growth in the face of dwindling oil earnings and low capacity utilisation by the manufacturing sector; factors that have literally crippled the economy.
Kwakpovwe said there was urgent need for the government to address the twin issues of basic infrastructure like electricity and funding for SMEs so as to encourage more Nigerians to embark on self-employment rather than continue to search for non-existent jobs in an economy where the otherwise vibrant sector like banking, is already throwing thousands of Nigerians into the streets.
The Bishop urged Nigerians to rise to the challenge of contemporary economic realities and acquire basic financial intelligence and management skills that would enable them set up and manage small businesses successfully, which he insists, hold the key to earning a decent living in the face of a shrinking economy.
He said the Roundtable, which assembled experts from various fields of finance, entrepreneurship and management was put together to offer members practical money-making and entrepreneurship skills to enable them live meaningful lives.
As the cleric noted, “times are hard and I implore everyone to think of how to create employment than resort to begging”. Speaking further he admonished, “The time has come for us to move from just praying to taking practical steps to doing something in addition to prayers.”
Speaking also, one of the resource persons and a Finance and Management Consultant, Kayode Stephens, cautioned Nigerians to be wise with their finances, cut down unnecessary expenses, desist from taking short cuts and acquire skills that would enable them put their money to profitable ventures.
Another resource person, Innocent Enyinna, expressed regret that the Nigerian education system is run on an out-dated curriculum that leaves the school leaver lazy and confused. He said over the years, operators of the nation’s school system should have evolved curricula that would equip the school leaver with basic entrepreneurial skills; people who would turn out job creators not only for themselves but for others also.
Enyinna blamed the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs on the failed school system. He said that majority of SMEs fail because Nigerian educational system failed to equip students to practically create and secure wealth in the current economic realities. According to him, schools fail to teach students what they need to practice in building sustainable businesses through skill acquisition.
On his part, a Marketing Communications Consultant, OnyekachiNwosu, emphasised the need for employees to have alternative source of income beside monthly salaries. According to him, workers cannot survive the harsh environment when they depend on salaries; rather they should be involved in basic money management skills for wealth creation.
The experts warned that as the economy continues to totter, even those who are working need to create additional streams of income by setting up little businesses they can manage while still in paid employment; cautioning that it was erroneous to wait for retirement or retrenchment before thinking of self-employment.
Impressed by the outcome and excitement generated by the Roundtable Kwakpovwe said the forum, organised by the Manna Prayer Mountain Ministry would become a regular one to encourage members to learn to rely less on government but think of how they can contribute to the economy.
To demonstrate his resolve to impact members of the ministry positively, the Bishop, at the close of the Roundtable, launched, in conjunction with representatives of the Lagos State Government, the Manna Prayer Mountain Cooperative aimed at pooling funds for easy access to members who have acquired the basic financial intelligence to manage businesses of their own.

TUNS Farms to Lead N25bn NEGPRO Project

Tuns Farms Nigeria, a leading food production company specialising in the production of world class safe and quality broiler meat and other poultry derivatives will lead the federal government’s aggressive National Egg Production Project (NEGPRO).
NEGPRO is a N25billion programme under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) anchor borrowers scheme through the Bank of Industry (BOI). It is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture aimed at increasing the output of egg production in the country to 50million table eggs by 2018.
Under the terms of the deal, which was signed this week in Abuja by the federal government, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief AuduOgbeh and the Chairman, Tuns Farm, AsiwajuOlatundeBadmus, Tuns Farm will recommend eligible entrepreneurs to access the N25billion facility as well as endorse their loan requirements and application and monitor their activities within the scheme.
Furthermore, Tuns Farm is charged with the responsibility of developing and marketing customised and standard feed concentrate in collaboration with regulatory agencies. The company will leverage its over 30 years’ experience in feed concentrate and poultry business.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman, Tuns Farm, Badmus, said that NEGPRO will aid in job creation and the provision of 50 million eggs on a daily basis by the year 2018.
In his words, the programme will provide sufficient eggs for the school feeding programme for children across the country.
He commended the Federal government for focusing on agriculture as a pivot for Nigeria’s food security and economic re-growth.
On his part,Ogbeh assured Tuns Farm of the ministry’s support towards the success of the scheme.
He called on the Bank of Industry and other financial stakeholders to support the scheme and actualisethe goal of the school feeding programme aimed at giving a child at least three eggs a week.