Lagos – Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Agric and Agro Allied group, in conjunction with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) during the week organised a one-day sensitisation programme for members of the group and the public on how to access Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loan for Agric/SMEs under the Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).
The sensitisation programme that took place at the LCCI Exhibition and Conference Centre in Alausa has in attendance officials from the SMEDAN, CBN, LCCI and a large turnout of participants. Tunji Falade, Chairman LCCI, Agric and Agro-Allied Group in his address, said that one of the potent strategies that countries which developed their economies adopted was deploying long-term, low interest, single-digit interest rates for SMEs and operators in agribusiness to support their operations.
He said that Nigerian population was growing, so there is a need for the economy to be structured for sustainable growth through the operations of agribusiness and SMEs. He said that members of the LCCI were already looking for opportunities such as this, and would be willing to embrace it, stressing that members of the group were being encouraged to take advantage of the unprecedented development and opportunity to expand their businesses.
“Remember, that it has been projected that Nigeria will be the third most populated country in the world by the year 2050. Remember, the report did not say Nigeria would be the third investment destination of the world, or the third country in the world in terms of food security, or industrial infrastructure.
“We as a nation must aggressively increase food production, and develop diverse infrastructure to match this population increase,” he said. He said that to access that kind of fund there were numerous requirements the beneficiary must have such as a bankable business plan, CAC documents, evidence of tax payment, among others. Speaking further, he said that for those that belong to structures like LCCI they won’t have so much problem in the sense that they are going to be leveraging on the existing platform that is available, but for those who are standing by themselves, they might not be able to do that.
“For instance, in-house we will be able to look at their business plan and help them where necessary, look at their financials and help them do it, but for those who might want to do it by themselves, they might face some challenges, if they do not have the knowledge of how to put the plans together. “After this training, the next thing is for us to get the SMEDAN participation certificate which is an indication that a particular company has taken part in the training and the procedure for processing starts. The certificate is one of the requirements to access the loan,” he added.