The Federal Government N2.3 Million Agricultural Loan Program for Civil Servants

It is no news that the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), has commenced the disbursement of N2.3 million in agricultural loans to civil servants as part of its efforts to boost agriculture and ensure food security nationwide.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Yemi-Esan Folashade, presented cheques to the first group of beneficiaries from the Agripreneurship Training Scheme. Notably, Eight Seven (87) officers participated in the initial training in March 2023, with a second batch of Ninety-Eight (98) participants starting their training on November 20, 2023.

Yemi-Esan emphasized her office’s dedication to the effective implementation of the scheme, aligning with the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021 to 2025. This initiative corresponds with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government, focusing on agriculture to achieve food security.

The Agripreneurship Scheme, a part of the Federal Public Service Entrepreneurship, provides civil servants with a supplementary income window, aids retirees in transitioning post-service, and contributes to various sectors of the Nigerian economy, and increases the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Operating under a tripartite arrangement involving the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, and the Bank of Agriculture, the scheme’s roles and responsibilities are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure effective implementation.

The program involves a two-week intensive training at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, exposing participants to various aspects of the agriculture value chain. The trainees also undergo structured hands-on training at selected farms in Abuja, aligning with their chosen areas of business interest.

The credit facility offered by the Bank of Agriculture carries a single-digit interest rate of 9%, with loan repayment linked to participants’ salaries. Managing Director Alwan Hassan commended the initiative and encouraged civil servants to engage in agricultural business as a viable option in retirement.

Furthermore, the tripartite arrangement ensures a seamless implementation of the scheme. The Head of Service coordinates the program, the Public Service Institute of Nigeria handles theoretical components, and the Bank of Agriculture provides essential credit facilities for eligible participants to start their businesses post-training, with a carefully crafted curriculum developed by a team of resource persons.

The program’s strategic alignment with the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan underscores its significance in enhancing the overall welfare of civil servants. As a supplementary income window, it not only aids in retirees’ post-service transition but also plays a crucial role in diversifying the economy and contributing to various sectors.

The emphasis on practical training, including exposure to the agriculture value chain and hands-on experience at selected farms, ensures that participants are well-equipped to venture into their chosen areas of business interest. This holistic approach not only fosters skill development but also instills confidence in the participants to actively contribute to the agricultural sector’s growth.

The commitment to a single-digit interest rate and a repayment structure linked to participants’ salaries demonstrates a thoughtful approach to financial sustainability. This not only encourages civil servants to participate but also ensures a manageable and supportive financial framework for the beneficiaries.

The commendation from the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture highlights the positive impact of the initiative. His encouragement for civil servants to consider agriculture as a fallback option in retirement reflects the broader vision of the program, aiming not only for immediate economic empowerment but also long-term financial security for participants.

The Federal Government’s initiative to disburse N2.3 million in agricultural loans to civil servants is a commendable step towards fostering economic growth, ensuring food security, and enhancing the welfare of public servants. The collaborative efforts of key stakeholders and the program’s comprehensive approach contribute to its potential for meaningful and sustainable impact in the agricultural landscape and the lives of those involved.

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