Despite pandemic, NIRSAL facilitates N30bn into agricultural value chains, as MD Abdulhameed unveils scorecard
Despite the harsh economic environment caused by coronavirus pandemic, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) was able to facilitate the flow of over N30 billion into agricultural value chains from commercial banks and other sources in the last 13 months.
Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, who unveiled successes of the body at an interactive session with the media on Thursday, declared that “as enablers of actors in the agricultural value chain, NIRSAL remained operational during the lockdown 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”.
NIRSAL is a $500 million Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.
Established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013, NIRSAL’s mandate is to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agriculture & agribusiness finance value chain, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity, and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.
Abdulhameed, a multi-talented Agricultural Economist with varied experience in the corporate and public sectors, also unveiled the achievements of the body as at fourth quarter of 2020.
He said the institution facilitated over N148 billion in finance and investments for agriculture and agribusiness.
*Aggregated over 3,000 agro geo-cooperatives with 500,000 farmers on nearly 800,000 hectares of land.
*Enrolled 1.4 million persons onto innovative insurance products designed by NIRSAL in collaboration with a consortium of agricultural insurance underwriters.
Abdulhameed declared: “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 N140 billion, 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.
“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”.
Abdulhameed described the media as an indispensable partner. “We have used the media to communicate our plans and accomplishments to good effect. More people now know NIRSAL and what it stands for better than ever before. Your being here is so that we can continue to amplify our reach across the length and breadth of this country with your partnership.
“We, as a people, cannot afford to derail NIRSAL. It is a vehicle that promises so 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”.