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CBN unveils plan to empower 370,000 youths in agricultural production

Nigeria's external reserve hits six months high at $44.14bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will engage a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production all over Nigeria, in pursuit of its socio-economic intervention to scale down the unemployment level of the youth population of between 18 and 35 years.

The apex bank in a document titled, Non-Interest Guidelines for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), released on its official website on Tuesday, declared that the programme had the ambition of ramping up food security and job creation while also stimulating the diversification of the economy.

It plans to achieve this via reinforcement of Nigeria’s food security in every state by regular engagement of stakeholders across the agriculture sector.

Among its other objectives are “collaboration among state governments, the CBN and relevant other stakeholders to create jobs in the agricultural sector, with strong focus on crops where states have a comparative advantage, and provision of short- and medium-term funding windows for the implementation of the scheme.”

Read also: CBN unveils plan for closer monitoring of chronic bank loan defaulters from August

Participating Financial institutions (PFIs), the facilitator of the initiative, will handle the function of disbursing the fund to beneficiaries, the document noted.

Among other roles, the regulator said the PFIs “shall Conduct due diligence in account opening and credit appraisal, access funds from the CBN on Wakala basis for on-financing to eligible entrepreneurs, ensure that payments are made directly to vendors in respect of equipment to be acquired with the purchased facility and the PFI takes lien on such assets.”

PFIs will equally procure the inputs for sale to beneficiaries by adopting CBN-approved non-interest financing contract at an all-inclusive rate of return of 9 per cent per annum.

On their part, beneficiaries are to oversee farm management, provide a third party alongside a guarantor for repayment of financing facility.

The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation would provide underwriting services.

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