The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) has dedicated a N2 billion loan for the refinancing of Microfinance Banks (MFBs) to improve the capacity of small-scale farmers and rural populace in the country.
A Consultant to IFAD, Dr Olusegun Ogidan, made the announcement on Wednesday in Owerri in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the concluding session of the 3rd FG/IFAD joint supervision mission.
He said the facility was part of efforts aimed at linking commercial and development banks with MFBs and MFIs selected by RUFFIN for the programme, adding that modalities for accessing the fund were being worked out by BOA.
Ogidan added that the fund was to enable the participating MFBs and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to have easy access to direct fund for lending at a reduced rate of seven digits.
He said the RUFFIN programme was aimed at improving access of the rural poor to appropriate and sustainable rural financial services, which covers 12 states in the six geo-political zones of the country
The zones are North East, Adamawa and Bauchi States; North West, Katsina and Zamfara; North Central, Benue and Nassarawa; South West, Lagos and Oyo; South East, Anambra and Imo.
Others are South-South, Akwa Ibom and Edo States. They are to be complemented with three local government areas from each of the participating states.
Ogidan said the linkage had become imperative, because the lack of fund had been identified as one of the major factors militating against proper implementation of the MFBs activities.
He said a lot had been achieved by the programme in mentoring MFBs under the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme.