Stakeholders in agric and industrial sectors have unanimously declared their support for the newly launched scheme, ‘100 projects for EVERY 100 days,’ initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stimulate agro-industrial activities, create employment opportunities and boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery in the country. According to them, the apex bank’s laudable scheme is coming at the right time the country is experiencing challenges in food security and sufficiency in all fronts.
They emphasised that they would collectively lead the campaigns for this ‘100 projects for EVERY 100 days’ scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the country that will see every farmer taking part and participating effectively in the scheme to realise the much needed food sufficiency and security aspirations in Nigeria. The agro-industrial stakeholders also harped on deepening such existing interventions in food production and industrial linkages through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). Indeed, CBN had released guidelines for its “Production and Productivity” initiative early this month through the “100 projects for EVERY 100 days” initiative for Nigeria’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors to allowed operators take advantage of the scheme.
According to the apex bank’s guidelines for the new scheme, a maximum loan of N5 billion will be loaned per obligor under the initiative, but any amount above the threshold would require special approval of its management. The focal activities are existing agro-businesses and projects with the potential to transform and jumpstart the productive base of the economy. CBN said in the guideline: “It is a support to private sector companies with the aim of reducing certain imports, increasing non-oil exports and to improve the FX-generating capacity of the economy.
“These include manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing; extractive industries, petrochemicals and renewable energy; healthcare and pharmaceuticals, logistics services and traderelated infrastructure; and any other activities as may be prescribed.” The apex bank had disclosed that the initiative was designed to support Federal Government’s drive towards boosting productivity and economic diversification. “The facility is a long-term loan for the acquisition of plant and machinery, as well as working capital.
“The initiative will create the flow of finance and investments to enterprises with the potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth trajectory, accelerate structural transformation, promote diversification, and improve productivity,” it noted. Specific objectives are to catalyse import substitution of targeted commodities; increase local production and productivity; increase non-oil exports; and improve foreign exchange earning capacity of the economy. “It would also include a decrease in import volume and value of industrial raw materials and increase in the number of jobs created,” the apex bank stated. It will be recalled that CBN had been in the forefront of initiatives to increase food productivity, agroindustrial processing and entrepreneurship activities through existing and new businesses.
Through ABP, there have been interventions in land preparation, quality seed supply, agro-chemicals, and off-take of rice paddies, maize, cassava, soya beans, and lately wheat and sweet potato, among other crops. In November 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ABP to boost agricultural production and minimise importation of food. Farmers captured under this programme include those cultivating cereals (rice, maize and wheat). The programme was intended to create a linkage between companies involved in food processing and smallholder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities, through commodity associations. While speaking to New Telegraph on the CBN’s 100 projects for EVERY 100 days initiative, A National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, explained that the Farmers association will always support any good policy emanating from the present government meant to boost agriculture and transform the economy in terms of stimulus intervention.