Mr Abel Ameh: “It is with great pleasure that I stand before you today to deliver this Goodwill message to this August gathering of the Nigeria Inclusive Finance Conference and Launching of the Farmer-To-Finance Funds for promoting improved access to financing of Agribusiness through the Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).
I want to commend the Association of Non-Bank Microfinance
Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN) for organising this event which is happening
at a very auspicious time when the focus of the Federal Government is
gravitating towards promoting agriculture as a business away from treating it
as a developmental project. The effect
of that policy shift by the government has resulted in the empowerment of many
rural farmers, who were hitherto living from hand to mouth to a more robust
standard of living with increased income, improved nutrition, health services
and education of their children.
It is worthy of note that a sister IFAD Programme under the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Rural Finance
Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) in conjunction with the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN) established the Apex Association of the Non-Bank Microfinance
Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN) which in its few years has performed
creditably well so much so that it currently has over 4,000 membership of
Microfinance institutions serving over 4.5 million clients with 3.6million active
savers and N14.5 billion loans disbursed in 2016.
The goal of the Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness
Support Programme (CASP) is in sync with the objective of the inclusive finance
conference which is being convened today by the ANMFIN. The CASP programme has
a whole component dedicated to Agribusiness activities with enormous support to
N-Agripreneurs beneficiaries, other enterprises and all our farmer
beneficiaries in the programme area, along the agriculture value chains in line
with the Green Alternative Agenda of the current administration. A
sub-component on financial services is also given prominence under the
Programme. This Sub-component supports the strengthening of the capacities of
local financial institutions such as the Financial Services Associations (FSAs)
and the Accumulating Savings and Credit Associations (ASCAs). Through these
institutions rural households and micro-enterprises in the CASP implementing
States are facilitated to access working and investment capital in order to
expand and diversify their economic activities. It is worthy of note that the
CASP is currently mentoring 176 FSAs with over 20,000 shareholders and share
capitals amounting to over N30 m with over N80 m disbursed as loans to members
across the implementing States.
My message will be
incomplete if I fail to mention the strategic partnership the CASP Programme
has entered into with the ANMFIN which is aimed at strengthening the FSAs. An
MoU to that effect was signed by the two parties in April 2017 and the
implementation plan based on the MoU has been developed awaiting implementation.
I wish you a worthwhile conference and a successful launch of the
Farmers-To-Finance Mutual Funds initiative which I strongly believe will
increase access to financial services by the financially excluded rural poor.
We at the CASP look forward to a harmonious relationship with ANMFIN.
Thank you and God