CBN Introduces Non-Interest Facility In ABP, COVID-19 Interventions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it plans to release a framework for the integration of non-interest window in all its intervention programmes.

The interventions especially targeted are the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) to  support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic .

The CBN said it also plans to fund value chains of nine commodities to the tune of N432 billion in the 2020 wet season.

Some of the commodities to be funded are Rice, Maize, Livestock, fish, oil Palm, Cow pea, Poultry.

These disclosures were made by the duo of the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor and Yila Yusuf, the Director, Development Finance Department.

They jointly represented the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at a stakeholder meeting yesterday with heads of various farmers associations in Abuja. The meeting was held to come up with strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season.

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

According to Okorafor, “the creation of a non-interest window followed appeals by concerned stakeholders for farmers across the country to also be considered for funding under the non-interest window.”

Okorafor stated that work has been concluded on the funding document, while the policy itself would be issued shortly “outlining how farmers under the category could apply and benefit from  the agricultural programmes of the CBN.”

Okorafor said the Bank, in the 2020 agricultural wet season, was committed to aggressively fund its agricultural programmes and spur farmers along select crop value chains to prevent the country from sliding into a recession, as is currently being experienced in some major economies of the world.

Speaking on the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) which the CBN introduced with the aime of alleviating the impact of the corona virus on individuals and small businesses, Okorafor said “the Bank is determined to push the economy to ensure Nigeria does not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth.”

He stated that the Governor, Mr. Emefiele, had directed the Development Finance Department of the Bank as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank (NMFB) to fast-track the approval process of loans, to help restore businesses and livelihoods.

In his remarks, the Director, Development Finance Department of CBN, Mr. Yila Yusuf, said the target for the 2020 agricultural wet season was to disbursement about N432 billion, through the participating banks, in the value chains of nine commodities.

He said over 1.1 million farmers, cultivating over one million hectares of farmland, were expected to benefit from the loans that will help to produce a collective output of 8.3 million metric tons.

Yila Yusuf described the ₦432 billion ABP facility as the largest ever by the CBN. He said the reason for making such large fund available was to help mitigate the impact COVID-19 would have on food supply in the months ahead.

Specifically, he said it had become necessary to increase the ABP intervention fund now since major food exporting countries like Thailand, India, Malaysia have shut down their silos to feed their nationals.

According to Yusuf, “the focus for the 2020 wet season is to ensure the provision of improved seeds to incentivize the farmers to return to their farms.”

He said the CBN adopted the value chain approach across all the commodities to ensure that every player along the entire value chain, from the farmers through to the processors, was financed.

The ₦432 billion funding of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) for the 2020 will shield Nigeria from any food shortage, particularly rice, in the heat of the global lockdown during which some major producing countries of staples, such as rice, closed their silos and halted the export of those produce.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Presidents of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) – Alhaji Alhaji Aminu Goronyo; National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) – Mr. Anibe Achimugu; Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN); Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) – Alhaji Bello Abubakar; and the Maize Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN) – Dr. Edwin Uche all pledged their support to continue the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to generate employment and create wealth.

The association presidents also promised that the loans collected by farmers will be promptly recovered in order to sustain the programme.