In an effort to cushion the after effects of COVID-19 pandemic the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has announced plans to issue non interest loans to all its intervention programmes to help businesses affected by the pandemic.
It listed the Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP, and the Targeted Credit Facility, TCF, as well as households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs are to benefit from the scheme.
Director Corporate Communications Isaac Okorafor alongside the Director, Development Finance Department, Yila Yusuf who jointly represented the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at a stakeholder meeting review the successes recorded under the ABP and the strategies for the 2020 agricultural wet season.
Okorafor explained that 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.
He said the policy 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.
On the Targeted Credit Facility, TCF, of the bank aimed at alleviating the impact of the coronavirus on individuals and small businesses, Okorafor noted that the bank was determined to push the economy to ensure Nigeria does not experience consecutive quarters of negative growth.
He noted that Emefiele, had directed the Development Finance Department of the apex bank as well as the NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank to fast-track the approval process of loans, which he stressed were to help restore businesses and livelihoods.
In his remarks, the director, Development Finance Department of CBN, Mr Yusuf said the target for the 2020 agricultural wet season was to advance about N432 billion through the participating banks in the value chains of nine commodities.
He also disclosed that 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.
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 also stressed that 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.