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CBN Begins Payment Of N26bn Agribusiness Fund To MSMEs

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee on Thursday

commenced disbursement of N26bn Agribusiness Small

and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) fund to

the first set of beneficiaries.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele at the inauguration of

the scheme in Abuja, said that the fund was set up by the

Bankers Committee at its 331st meeting held on February 9, 2017.

He said that the main purpose was to improve access to

affordable funding for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

(MSMEs), particularly those operating in the informal sector of

the economy.

Emefiele recalled that as commitment to the successful

implementation of the scheme, all Money Deposit Banks

(DMBs) voluntarily agreed to contribute five per cent of their

Profit After Tax annually.

He said their contribution was to be used to fund eligible

projects under the scheme.

Emefiele commended the commitment of the DMBs to support

the scheme, adding that by the end of next year, the

disbursement rate of the fund would have risen to N60 billion.

He also said the fund would be disbursed to youths, who had

been trained on various entrepreneurship, vocational and

management skills across the country by Entrepreneurship

Development Institutions and Centres.

According to him, the centres are the Fate Foundation, Lagos

Business School, House of Tara and Thrive Agric.

He said unlike other intervention scheme where the funds were

disbursed in cash, beneficiaries under the agribusiness

programme would be given equipment that were commensurate

to the required amount based on their trade areas.

“In Nigeria, the challenges of youth unemployment and

restiveness must be confronted with strategic innovative

thinking to provide sustainable solution.

“No matter how daunting the challenge may seem, I believe that

with unity of purpose, we can fight this scourge together.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that one of the most effective

ways to tackle this scourge, is through entrepreneurship

development and easy access to affordable funding.

“Yet, access to funds has been an Achilles heel on

entrepreneurship development in the country today.

“A situation often credited to financial intermediaries’ apathy to

youth entrepreneurship and startups, which are usually

perceived as being too risky,

lacking relevant managerial skills and not possessing,’’ he said.

Emefiele said that the AGSMEIS scheme would be implemented

under three broad components, direct, indirect and

developmental components.

Under the direct component of the AGSMEIS, the CBN governor

said beneficiaries could access loans to a limit of N10 million

at an interest rate of five per cent per annum and a maximum

tenor of up to seven years.

In addition, he said that there was also a moratorium period of

18 months on principal and six months on interest element,

depending on the nature of the business.

Under the indirect component of the scheme, the CBN governor

said beneficiaries could access equity and quasi-equity investments

of up to ten years with an initial lock up period of three years

before divestment.

He explained that the developmental component of the scheme

would be used for capacity building and technical assistance to

support beneficiaries.

Emefiele said also that the apex bank would step up its

developmental objectives so as to reduce the level of

unemployment and create wealth that would support the growth

and development of the economy.

Also, he said that under the CBN Anchor Borrowers

Programme, which was launched in Nov. 2015, the bank had

disbursed N80bn to 358,000 small holder farmers in 34 states, cultivating eight


The highlight of the event was the disbursement of materials

worth N133 million to first set of 358 beneficiaries to start

businesses in their chosen fields.

Emefiele stressed again that the money was not free and the

beneficiaries would be strictly monitored to ensure repayment.

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