1,500 former agitators in the Niger Delta who were trained under the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) would get loans with single-digit interest rates from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The project, according to a statement from Mr. Milland Dikio, PAP’s interim administrator, is a part of attempts to improve the region’s residents’ economic prospects by luring investment for small and medium-sized businesses.
He advised the recipients to wisely use the NIRSAL loans to launch profitable businesses, cautioning them against abusing the facility and stating that diverting it would worsen the situation for them and the area.
A program supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria called NIRSAL offers a nine percent concessionary lending rate to business owners in the agricultural value chain.
Mr. Dikio, who was represented by the Head of Reintegration, Mr. Alfred Kemepado, stated that the training would assist the loan recipients in expanding their businesses and reducing risks. He added that the goal was to facilitate and improve loans with single-digit interest rates for local business owners.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Projects, Mr. Godwin Ekpo, at the Yenagoa and Port Harcourt Centers, Mr. Dikio urged the recipients to organize into cooperatives and concentrate on agriculture.
“The facilitators were really engaging, and it simply gives us optimism. We are hoping that once we finish working with this group and move on to the next batches, the things we do with them in the future will be successful.
The training was a continuation of a program for NIRSAL loans that PAP started in November 2021 and took held at specific locations in the states of Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom.
“We have asked them to form themselves into cooperatives, look at the Agriculture value chain, production, processing, packaging and logistics end to see where they fit in.”
“Many of them have expressed interest, and I’m crossing my fingers that by tomorrow they’ll organize themselves into various clusters in the value chain of various products.”
The Niger Delta is ready for development, we are telling anyone who would listen. Return to the Niger Delta and make investments here. We are prepared to welcome you and to assist you. stated Mr. Dikio.
Through Mr. Benjamin Appah, a senior Reintegration Officer in PAP, he described in Warri how the recipients were selected from all around the region for the various centers.
The names were gathered from impacted communities, PAP success stories, PAP cooperatives, and the officially recognized Amnesty Programme participants. Their camp leaders, cooperatives, and post-training units provided us with the names.
We also learned from the success tales of individuals who had previously received empowerment from the amnesty office and were succeeding in their enterprises.
“So the office of the Interim Administrator decided it would be wise to suggest that because their firms are succeeding, why don’t we aid in their expansion. The Federal Government of Nigeria orchestrated this lending arrangement.
However, PAP decided to fill the training vacuum by hiring a consultant who will instruct beneficiaries and demonstrate the requirement for accessing the loan and also guide them through getting a credible business plan.
“In a nutshell, the current PAP administration is trying to facilitate the access for the beneficiaries to benefit from the Federal Government’s single-digit collateral-free loan programme.
The office will cover all other qualifying expenditures, according to Mr. Appah, and all the beneficiaries have to do is show up at their training centers to receive their training.
At the conclusion of the five-day session, certificates of participation were given to the recipients across all centers.
The certificate qualified the recipients for additional loans, grants, and credit facilities approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria.