Aspiring and existing business operators have been assured of speedy release of funds for their bankable business plans after approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the Agribusiness Marketplace programme held recently in Lagos.
Present at the event, organised by the Net-Works Business Club in collaboration with the Wisdom Group of RCCG City of David with theme ‘Agribusiness and the Market Place (Part 2),’ were Peter Amangbo, managing director of Zenith Bank, Jonathan Tobin, deputy director, Development Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other seasoned professionals and entrepreneurs.
Explaining how the N220 billion MSME funds launched last year was disbursed, Jonathan Tobin, the CBN representative, said: “If you are an SME or startup, you can take your bankable business plan to your bank. If the bank is convinced the business can fly, they send it to the CBN and we re-assess. If we are convinced, we release funds to the bank’s account and within two working days the bank must credit your account.”
Failure to credit the loan beneficiary’s account within the stipulated time would attract penalties by the CBN as the bank would pay charges, Tobin said. Speaking further, he said, “this fund is not an on-lending fund, we made sure all the mistakes of other interventions were corrected, all the loopholes are blocked. In the other schemes, banks can take funds and on-lend and later come to the CBN with the documents. But it was abused and exploited.”
The CBN has established the National Collateral Registry that allows financing with the use of movable assets such as cars and thereby the credit-worthiness of the loan beneficiary in repayment is tested every time they take and repay loans, after which they would be able to access loans without collateral, he said.
Peter Amangbo, Zenith Bank managing director, urged the youths to acquire knowledge in the field of any business they want, stating that the bank was ready to support any good bankable business plan. “Like any other business, for you to be successful in agribusiness, you must be clear in your mind as to the business you are going into. The first critical success factor is to equip yourself, not with tractors and money, but with knowledge which is very key, that is what will make the difference between those that will be successful and those that will fall by the wayside,” he said, saying “don’t go into any business if you do not understand the details.”
B.J. Auta, assistant general, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), highlighted the various financing and support options available for youths and other agribusiness. They include the warehouse receipts at the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, interventions for youths in agriculture which focuses on value chain approach to agric financing, incubation centres, national mechanisation programme driven by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and various technical support and advisory services.
Julia Shinaba, managing director of Skido, a food company, spoke on how investors with low capital can start a manufacturing business without a manufacturing plant, yet produce products and build their brands in the market.
Biola Ogunrinde, managing director of Tropical Natural Limited, producer of Dudu Osun soap, x-rayed various business options available in the marketplace, “you can be in agribusiness without going to the farm, you can process.” He mentioned various processed produce that can be processed, such as cocoa and ginger.
Bunmi Oni, who heads the Excel Farmers Cooperative Society, spoke on the Net-Works, organiser of the event, which is a Christian business club, saying “since inception two years ago, the club has assisted a number of Christians and exposed them to many vital business opportunities.
Funso Sonaiya, professor at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, shared insights on how to get started in agribusiness, whether the potential investor had huge or low capital, and explained that those with huge amount of money but without the energy or the time could do contract farming, funding those with the energy and time and getting returns on their investment.
He then explained the different areas of businesses along the value chain and the appropriate technology that could be utilised for success.
The Net-Works will also be holding a cocktail and net-working evening on Friday, November 14, at the Metropolitan Club Lagos, Victoria Island, Lagos, for members only to network, make new friends and build new contacts for their businesses.