By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is set to extend single-digit interest rate loans to 1,500 trained ex-agitators under the Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP) in the Niger Delta region.
According to a statement, Mr. Milland Dikio, the interim administrator of PAP, said the initiative is part of efforts to improve the economic prospects of people in the region by attracting financial support for small and medium enterprises.
He urged the beneficiaries to use NIRSAL loans wisely to become successful entrepreneurs, cautioning them against misusing the facility, adding that misuse of the facility would create more hardships for them and for the region.
The NIRSAL is a program supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria for entrepreneurs in the agricultural value chain at a preferential interest rate of 9%.
The training, which took place at designated centers in Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, was an extension of a NIRSAL loan program that the PAP launched in November 2021.
Represented by Head of Reintegration, Mr. Alfred Kemepado, Mr. Dikio said the training would help loan recipients grow their businesses and mitigate risk, saying the aim was to facilitate and improve lending at single-digit interest rates for entrepreneurs in the Region.
At the centers in Yenagoa and Port Harcourt, Mr. Dikio, who spoke through his special adviser on projects, Mr. Godwin Ekpo, urged beneficiaries to form cooperatives and focus on Agriculture.
“The animators were very engaging and that just gives us hope and hope that once we’re done with this set and move on to the next batches, the things we do next with these people will produce results.
“We asked them to form cooperatives, to look at the value chain of agriculture, production, processing, packaging and logistics to see where they fit.
“Many of them have expressed interest and I hope that maybe by tomorrow they will form into different clusters in the value chain of several products.
“We tell anyone who wants to hear that the Niger Delta is ready for development. Come back to the Niger Delta, come back and invest here. We are ready to receive you and we are ready to support you. said Mr. Dikio.
In Warri, through a Senior Reintegration Officer at PAP, Mr. Benjamin Appah, he explained how the beneficiaries were distributed across the region for the different centres.
“Names have been compiled through affected communities, PAP success stories, PAP cooperatives and documented genuine beneficiaries of the amnesty program.
“We received the names through their camp leaders, cooperatives and post-training units.
“We have also collected success stories from people who have already been empowered by the Amnesty Office and are doing well in their businesses.
“So the interim administrator’s office thought it was wise to say that since they are doing well in their businesses, why not help them grow.
“This loan is a program organized by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“However, the PAP has decided to bridge this gap and facilitate the training by engaging a consultant who will train the beneficiaries and show them the prerequisites for accessing the loan and also guide them in obtaining a business plan. credible business.
“In a nutshell, the current PAP administration is trying to make it easier for recipients to access the federal government’s single digit unsecured loan program.
“All recipients have to do is walk down to their training centers, receive their training, and the office is responsible for all other expenses that qualify them,” Appah said.
Certificates of participation were issued to beneficiaries in all centers at the end of the five-day workshop.
The certificate qualified recipients for other Nigerian Central Banks, Accredited Loans, Grants and Credit Facilities.