From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) on Thursday disclosed that it has facilitated over NGN148 billion in finance and investments for agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria since its inception in 2016.
The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr Abdulhameed Aliyu made the disclosure in Abuja at an interactive session with journalists.
According to him, the agency, which is a creation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has aggregated over 3,000 agro geo-cooperatives with 500,000 farmers on nearly 800,000 hectares of land.
He added that 1.4 million persons have been enrolled onto various innovative insurance products designed by NIRSAL in collaboration with a consortium of agricultural insurance underwriters.
“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 Secured Agricultural Commodity Transport and Storage Corridors (SATS-C).
“While pursuing our mandate that translates to positively impacting Nigeria’s economy, we have been building a world class corporate entity too. In the past year, we further improved NIRSAL’s 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.
“Along the line, we have grown our balance sheet to NGN140billion, our equity 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”, the NIRSAL boss explained.
Aliyu also revealed that the agency, in the last 13 months, facilitated the flow of over N30 billion into agricultural value chains from commercial banks and other sources.
While acknowledging that NIRSAL’s operations suffered a stall during the lockdown of 2020, Aliyu noted that technological depth gave the agency 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”, he added.
The NIRSAL CEO assured Nigerians that the agency remained focused to deliver on its mandate despite sustained attacks from detractors.
“We as a people cannot afford to derail NIRSAL. It is a vehicle that promises much to Nigeria and is currently delivering remarkably. Distractions from vested interests are unwelcome to our work of supporting the building of a resilient economy in Africa’s most populous nation”, Aliyu stated.