Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Access Bank Plc has said that its $250million loan support scheme to Nigerian farmers and small and medium scale enterprises is yielding economic growth as Nigerians are accessing it for the optimal growth of businesses across the federation.
The bank said it was doing so in line with the federal government economic diversification policy captured under the Economic Regeneration and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Not only that, the Access Bank said being one of the principal partners and commercial banks in the country, it was also providing support and guaranteeing intending bank’s subscribers to access the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N220billion Agricultural loan to Nigerian farmers.
The bank made this known during a breakfast meeting with farmers and stakeholders in other sectors of the economy in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
The bankâ€™s Group Head, Agricultural Business, David Ajayi, told participants that the bank had loan package for all types of businesses under the Central Bank of Nigeria financial intervention at single digit interest rate, and the bankâ€™s private intervention geared towards helping farmers and other businesses.
According to him, the bank had $250m available to finance agriculture in Nigeria, stressing that apart from giving the loan, Access Bank helped farmers to succeed on their farms so that they could pay back their loans.
Ajayi said, â€œNigeria is diversifying away from oil and gas to agriculture and mining. There is a lot of emphasis on agriculture and we want to take it to the next level. In Access Bank, we have a lot of packages for Nigerian farmers irrespective of what aspect of agricultural endeavour they are into. We also do things differently to achieve excellence and demonstrate our commitment to our value.
â€œThey can come and take loan from the intervention scheme of which the bank is a strong player. We will link them with the CBN to access loans at single digit interest rate. There is what we call bridging loan to take care of their needs on the farm while they wait for the real loan they have applied for from the CBN or the federal government.
â€œUnder the intervention scheme of the CBN, we have the micro, small and medium enterprises scheme. The maximum amount of loan under such scheme is N50m for an individual farmer. There are agricultural businesses that require much more money; we have the commercial agricultural credit scheme to take care of this. The minimum loan here is N50m while the maximum is N2bn. Despite inflation, such money can finance any agricultural business.
â€œRecently, Access Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Netherland Development Financial Institution for the sum of $100m to finance agriculture in Nigeria. From such partnership, we have up to $250m available to finance agriculture in Nigeria.â€