The Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, (NIRSAL), says despite the coronavirus pandemic, it facilitated over N30 billion as loans from commercial banks and other sources to businesses across the various agricultural value chains in 2020, making a total of N148 billion in its five years of operation.
Managing Director cum Chief Executive Officer of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, in a chat with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday, said that the company had also aggregated over 3,000 agro geo-cooperatives with 500,000 farmers on nearly 800,000 hectares of land.
According to him, “Even though our operations suffered a stall during the lockdown of 2020, our technological depth gave us a pathway to return to work while remaining safe and socially distanced. As you know, it was important to continue, even increase food and raw materials production as the pandemic bit harder.
“As enablers of actors in the agricultural value chain, we remained operational for those who were allowed by the Federal Government to move around for the purpose of producing food and rendering essential services in the society.”
Abdulhameed added that the company had also enrolled 1.4 million persons into innovative insurance products while its balance sheet grew to N140 billion.
“Our equity grew by 1,415% and our total assets by 87%. The number of farmers we have worked with has also grown, especially as we fully unveiled our Agro Geo-Cooperative model in the outgone year.
“We have also been up to some high-level advocacy. To curb the dismal levels of post-harvest losses that Nigeria suffers, and create efficient routes for commodity movement and storage, we are engaging with and supporting the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in the development of a policy on Secure Agricultural Commodity Transport and Storage Corridors (SATS-C),” he said.
The company’s head honcho further disclosed that NIRSAL had also improved its structure and systems, “maintained compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards and successfully implemented the balanced scorecard performance management approach to tap the best from our talented employees.”
NIRSAL Plc, a wholly-owned corporation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is a $500 million non-bank financial institution specifically designed to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risk. This, it does through fixing of agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity, and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending, leveraging its five strategic pillars namely: risk sharing, innovative insurance technical assistance, incentive mechanism and rating.
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