Heritage Bank calls for increased govt, banks support in Agriculture sector

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Heritage Bank Plc has called on government at all levels and deposit money banks to increase supports in agriculture, as it is the most resilient and important sector of the Nigerian economy, despite underwhelming investment in the sector.

The Executive Director of the bank, Jude Monye stated this while delivering a paper, titled, Bank Experience in Lending to the Real Sector (Agric) of the Economy, at the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) 2018 Chief Risk Officers Forum Retreat, in Lagos, yesterday. He disclosed that increased focus on the agriculture sector would contribute to the Job creation objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as its labour intensive process across the value chain has the potential of creating multiple jobs, create wealth, and increase the sector’s contribution to GDP and foreign exchange earnings

 

Meanwhile, Monye stressed that the under-performance of the sector is closely tied; amongst other factors; to poor credit access from banks. On the part of the government, he decried that Nigeria’s Agricultural research institutes that are established to drive the sector’s business were underfunded compared to India. The 2018 budget allocates N54bn and N149bn (US$490m) to the agriculture and rural development ministry for recurrent and capital spending respectively. Agricultural research institutes have received an average of N28bn (US$90m) annually over the past five years. The comparable figure for India, with six times the population, is closer to US$2bn, he stated. He further noted that the economic recovery and growth plan of the government is heavy on Agriculture and MSMEs as key drivers of the economic diversification plan. Successful implementation of the Government’s Recovery Plan provides significant opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and financiers particularly in the Agro-allied Sector, Monye affirmed.

 

The Executive Director added that investments in infrastructure (energy and transportation) are supportive of Agric-led growth. He explained that to explore options for de-risking and unlocking bank lending to the Agric sector so as to develop and position the sector for increased contribution to Nigeria’s GDP and revenues, there is need to Continue regulatory-driven intervention funds to increase access to credit at single-digit rates and long tenors, Improve knowledge of Banks and Bankers on Agric finance and Agricultural Risk Management through focused capacity building and many others.

 

Speaking at a retreat with the theme, Achieving Economic Diversification for Nigeria via the De-Risking of Lending to the Nigerian Non-oil Sectors, the MD/CEO of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abduhameed, explained that the value chain financing is one of the major problem facing Nigerian agricultural sector. But, he pointed out that NIRSAL does this by de-risking the agricultural financing value chain, building long-term capabilities and institutionalizing agricultural lending through risk sharing with banks, technical capacity building as well as the provision of incentives to encourage bank lending. According to him, Nigeria is endowed with all the natural resources to thrive in agriculture, but the sector lacks the capital with which to maximally meet the opportunities. He stated that NIRSAL aims to increase deposit money banks lending and other private investment. Abduhameed disclosed that proposal has been put before the Central Bank of Nigeria for NIRSAL to be recognised as a collateral instrument as well as flow instrument, as this would fast track the de-risking of the value chain financing.

 

Group ED/Agribusiness TGI Group, Farouk Gumel, as one of the panellists, stressed the need to shed more light on banking agriculture rather than de-risking. He also canvassed for more investments in infrastructure and addressing the eco-climate system in the country.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

L-R: Dr. Sophia Horsefall, Corporate Relations Manager, SPDC; Osepiribo Ben-Willie, Executive Director of Heritage Bank and Ivy Davies-Etokakpan, President of Eveafrique News at the Women Must Conference 2.0, titled “The Woman and Her Must” organised by The Kilali Tribe held in Port Harcourt.

PRESS RELEASE

Heritage Bank is agent for actualisation of SDG 5-Gender Equality, women empowerment – Kilali Tribe

05/12/2022:  Heritage Bank has been commended for being an agent for the actualisation of Sustainable Development Goals SDG 5 – Gender Equality, as well women empowerment for socio-economic growth.

This was stated by Kilali Tribe at the Women Must Conference 2.0, titled “The Woman and Her Must” organised by The Kilali Tribe which held in Port Harcourt.

The Kilali Tribe is an association of prolific Rivers and Bayelsa State women who come together to support themselves through peer learning, capacity-building initiatives, networking, and mentoring. Also, provide similar structured support to other women within the community.

Speaking at the event, Ivy Davies-Etokakpan, President of Eveafrique News who also member of Kilali Tribe, commended Heritage Bank for taking the lead in championing the empowerment of women over the years in the country.

“We are proud of Heritage Bank for making us soar while promoting women empowerment. Over the years, Heritage Bank has proved to be an agent for the actualisation of achieving SDG 5 – Gender Equality, as well women empowerment,” she said.

The Executive Director of Heritage Bank, Osepiribo Ben-Willie affirmed the need to deliberately adopt measures to deepen women empowerment to drive the nation’s socio-economic growth.

In her closing remarks, Osepiribo Ben-Willie hinted that the Conference had leveraged Kilali Tribe to come up with blueprint in promoting women’s equal right to socio-economic empowerment, as this is at the heart of the SDG5-Gender Equality.

The Executive Director of Heritage Bank affirmed that women all over have proved to be huge economic asset in the act of creation of a new sustainable economy, hence gender inclusiveness and women’s empowerment must be taken as a priority.

According to her, after evaluating the bottlenecks restraining the Kilali Tribe and other women to attain the platforms to grow professionally and thrive in all spheres of t heeconomy, it is a call to action to “tackle the challenges of gender disparity and lack of inclusiveness that have continued to impede the expected rapid economic empowerment that could help unshackle our women’s entrepreneurial prowess and foster more representation for women and girls at decision-making forums and Board levels in comparison to their peers in the developed countries.”

Ben-Willie added that for women to emerge economically and socially as independent there was an urgent need to tackle psychological, social and skill constraints.

Collaborating Ben-Willie’s, the Co-founder and former Group Executive Director of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, advocated for women and girl inclusiveness across all sectors of the society, including economic participation and decision-making.

According to him, the country should be conscious of gender equality, whilst emphasising that dealing with the psychological constraint will enable women to be balanced emotionally.

He stressed the need for organisation to leverage women positions on Board level, as they are resourceful and could enormously impact to the growth of any society.

Cole also charged women in being deliberate to position and champion course that would put them at the forefront of making difference. //END.//

Ozena Utulu, Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications