The Global Economic Policy Initiative, GEPIn, an economic policy advocacy group has commended the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, (NIRSAL), and its Managing Director, Aliyu Abdulhameed, for its significant contributions to President Buhari’s diversification agenda through its facilitation of financing for the agricultural sector and for playing a key role in achieving the food sufficiency Nigeria currently enjoys, even during the pandemic.
GEPIn through a statement signed by its President, Bernard Okri, commended Abdulhameed for the focused leadership that has produced these positive results.
According to Okri: “Since its inception in 2013, NIRSAL was always projected to be the game-changer in agriculture financing. Its mandate – which includes financial underwriting for loans in the agricultural sector – was not just a necessity but a critical move if Nigeria was going to retune its priorities from a monotonic, oil driven economy. What we have seen so far is the impressive implementation of this mandate that has brought confidence, hope and a long-needed trigger to our agriculture sector.
“Under the leadership of Aliyu Abdulhammed since 2016, NIRSAL especially through the facilitation of finance and investment from the private sector into the different segments of the Agricultural Value Chain, as well as the instrumentality of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, created millions of jobs in the agricultural sector directly and indirectly.” GEPIn stated.
The group stated that the financial stimulus in the agricultural sector facilitated through NIRSAL was impressive.
“NIRSAL has so far facilitated over 122.7 Billion Naira into financing of the agriculture sector from various sources. Along with other sources of exceptional financing from the Central Bank and other sources, the financial stimulus has not only woken a sleeping giant, it has jacked it up to productivity – obvious from the significant improvements we have seen of the GDP contributions from the agricultural sector.
It also commended the significant capacity building efforts of NIRSAL in the sector as well as the recently launched innovative Agro Geo-Cooperatives model.
“NIRSAL has also succeeded in providing the much desired technical assistance to the agricultural value chain in the country. The company has developed different sustainable models to fix broken agricultural value chains in the country, top of which is the game changing Agro Geo-Cooperative (AGC) model of organizing, structuring, risk-managing, financing and controlling smallholder-based primary production agriculture, it has also provided training on good agronomic practices to over 700,000 farmers and 374 extension workers, and in addition, trained over 1,538 staff of financial institutions in agricultural financing and risk management. Through NIRSAL’s Insurance pillar, innovative index-based agricultural insurance products have been developed, adopted by 9 private insurance companies and used by almost 200,000 farmers to date.
The GEPIn stated that NIRSAL was critical to the diversification of Nigeria’s economy through agriculture.
It urged Aliyu Abdulhameed, its MD to remain focused in the delivery of his mandate, cautioning him to disregard the distractions of detractors.
“Mr. Abdulhameed has earned for himself a laudable record. He must keep his eyes on the target. There would be the voices of those who would try to bring him down; he must ensure not to be swayed or moved by them. His task is far more important than the barks of attack dogs.”