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Financial Services

How to access new CBN’s Agric fund

Each non-interest deposit Bank to set aside 5% of its PAT annually as contribution to the Fund.



Economic Growth, CBN, Governor, Emefiele, CBN releases new capital base, sanctions for Microfinance Banks, Nigerian Banks broadly positive after naira devaluation, Naira hits N465 to $1, Central Bank begins disbursing $100million to hit at currency speculators

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled guidelines for a Non-Interest Financial Institutions under its Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).

This was disclosed by the apex bank via its website on Tuesday. The guidelines also included the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) and seven other intervention schemes in its bouquet.

How the AGSMEIS works

* The CBN would create a Fund to be known as ‘AGSMEIS Non-Interest Fund’ that will be domiciled in a dedicated account with the apex bank.

* Each non-interest deposit Bank (full-fledged or window) was to set aside 5% of its Profit After Tax (PAT) annually as contribution to the Fund.

* Each non-interest Deposit Bank was also to transfer its contribution to the CBN not later than 10 working days after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the participating bank.

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* Eligible activities under the Scheme are businesses across the agricultural value chain, covering production, inputs supply, storage, processing, logistics and marketing.

* Others included MSMEs in the real sector including manufacturing, ICT, mining, petrochemicals and the creative industry as well as other activities as the CBN may determine from time to time.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s external reserve drop by $261 million in 15 days, oil firms to sell forex to CBN 

How to access fund

The application of the Fund shall be categorised into three broad components. They are debt, equity and developmental components.

•  The debt component shall constitute 50% of the fund which shall be disbursed as financings to eligible businesses through Non-Interest Deposit Money Banks.

*Asset purchased shall be registered with the National Collateral Registry (NCR).


* Financing limit: N10,000,000

* Mark-up: 5% per annum

* Tenor: Up to 7 years (depending on the nature/gestation period of the

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* Moratorium: Maximum of 18 months for principal and 6 months on mark-up.

READ MORE: CBN extends timeframe for submission of banks’ audited financial statements

Documentation Requirements

* Duly completed application form.

* Bank Verification Number (BVN).

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* Certificate of Training from recognised Entrepreneurship Development Institution (EDI) or evidence of membership of organised private sector association.

* Letter of Introduction from any of the following: Clergy, Village Head, District Head, Traditional Ruler, senior civil servant etc (for individuals, microenterprises only).

* Evidence of registration of business name or certificate of incorporation and filing of annual returns (where applicable) in compliance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (1990).

READ ALSO: NIRSAL explains why it is not disbursing N50 billion CBN loan

Back story

Last month, the CBN announced that it has unveiled a framework that will integrate a non-interest window in all its intervention programmes aimed at supporting businesses and households that have been impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic.


In a statement, the apex bank said the integration will focus mainly on its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as well as the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF).

Why it matters: The Scheme will be for start-ups, business expansion or revival of ailing companies and shall be in compliance with provisions of BOFIA (1991) as amended and the principles underpinning operations of NIFIs.

“The MSMEDF for NIFIs guidelines are aimed to channel low return funds to the MSME sub-sector of the Nigerian economy through participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) to enhance access by MSMEs to financial services.

“Similarly, the non-interest guidelines for the AADS are aimed at engaging a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country between now and 2023, in order to reduce unemployment among the youth in the country,” it added.

While the specific objectives of the MSMEDF for NIFIs are to increase the productivity and output of microenterprises, job creation and engender inclusive growth, those of the AADS are to increase agricultural production towards food security, job creation and economic diversification.

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* It is targeted at Nigerian youth between 18 and 35 years, seek to promote interaction among state governments, the CBN and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain in each state.

* To enhance job creation in the agricultural sector, with focus on two crops where States have comparative advantage.

* Others were the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) revised guidelines (V3); the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) among others.

Download the guidelines here

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]



  1. Alvan Njoku

    July 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you Sir, it is a good idea and action taken by the CBN and at this period. I believe it will go a long way to assist young farmers and starters, but I will like the CBN to please ease the requirements to enable more people to apply. Some businesses like ours are very tender and will need soft landing.
    Alvan Njoku

  2. Adewole

    July 15, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Good evening sir,my name is Adewole kehinde Moses,from Osun state,my area of specializations is crops production,please I want to know more on how to access CNN loans facility currently on

  3. Babalola Taofiq

    July 24, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    My name is babalola Taofiq from osun state I’m living in Lagos I’m into crop farming.pls I have apply for this agsemeis loan I have been interviewed in CBN Ogun state later I was transferred to osun state for another interview due to my business location since last year no response from them what can I do now and I want to use the to processing my farm produce

  4. Peter olakunle

    August 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    I am interested in CBN Agricultural Accelerated Development Scheme, but I can’t find the application portal. Kindly assist sir. My best regards

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Financial Services

Fitch forecasts that banks’ earnings will be hit hard by CBN’s CRR policy, others

The CRR debits on Nigerian banks have exceeded the N2 trillion mark in 2020 alone.



Foremost International Rating Firm, Fitch Ratings, has forecast that punitive policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), especially the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) debits on Nigerian banks, will negatively impact on their earnings.

According to the rating firm, this is coming at a time when most other countries are giving banks extra leeway to fight the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

READ MORE: CBN maintains MPR at 14% for the 11th consecutive time

The Senior Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Fitch, Mahin Dissanayake, in an interview, said:

“The Central Bank of Nigeria has been highly interventionist. Where peers like South Africa and Kenya followed the global trend of giving banks more room to lend, Nigeria hasn’t budged. Instead, it stuck with a cash reserve ratio that compels lenders to park 27.5% of their deposits with the central bank.’

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“The CRR is unique and hugely punitive. The regulation is aimed at reducing the amount of money in the financial system to keep inflation in check.’’

READ MORE: Loan: CBN disburses over N300 billion to SMEs, health, agric, manufacturing sectors

Dissanayake pointed out that keeping those huge idle cash with the CBN in a non-interest yielding account puts a lot of pressure on the earnings of the banks, as they would have been put to better use through ventures such as lending. The inability of the banks to meet the requirements of the apex bank results in the debiting of the banks’ accounts with the shortfall.

The CBN also debits the accounts of banks who fail to meet the 65% loan to deposit ratio (LDR) regulation, a policy which is aimed at stimulating credit in the economy.

READ ALSO: Nigerian banks have written off N1.9 trillion impaired loans in past 4 years

The CRR debits on Nigerian banks have exceeded the N2 trillion mark in 2020 alone, some of which are speculated to be aimed at reducing the capacity of the lenders to participate in the foreign exchange market and as a result reducing the pressure on the naira.


According to an earlier report from Nairametrics, some analysts suggest that the CBN debits the accounts of banks arbitrarily without adhering to the 22.5% CRR, just to manage the liquidity in the system.

Dissanayake disclosed that enforcement of these policies and penalties have caused an effective hit on capital to between 40% and 50%.

He said, “Nigerian banks compared to other markets operate in a volatile environment. The banks have to deal with economic shocks, short credit cycles and persistent problems in the oil sector. They also have to deal with policy actions, policy uncertainty and regulatory risks.”

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He, however, said that the positive side of this is that the strong revenue-generating capacity in a large Nigerian economy allows the banks to absorb the higher cost of risk even when income from interest charges on loans deteriorate.

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The financial results for the first half of the year saw Nigerian banks record trading and foreign exchange revaluation gains which had neutralized the lower yields on government bond holdings, slower loan growth and fewer transactions from customers due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dissanayake forecasted an estimated 20% decline in revenue, with a decline as well in profitability. The degree of decline in profitability will depend on the extent of loan impairment charges and the size of trading and translation gains.

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Company Results

Sterling Bank reveals N215 billion sequestered by CBN as CRR Debits

Sterling Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s tier 2 banks reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s CBN restricted about N215.5 billion of its customer deposits as of June 2020.



Sterling Bank

Sterling Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s tier 2 banks reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s CBN restricted about N215.5 billion of its customer deposits as of June 2020.

The bank reported this in its 2020 half-year interim results published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. According to the data, Sterling Bank’s confirmed the amount of its customer deposits now held by the CBN is about N215.5 billion and explained it “represent mandatory reserve deposits and are not available for use in the bank’s day-to-day operations” which can be interpreted as Cash Reserve Requirement “CRR”.

READ ALSO: CBN debits banks another N459.7 billion for failure to meet CRR target

Sterling Bank Data

  • Deposits from Customers – N915.3b (N892. 6billion)
  • Loans to customers – N615 billion (Dec 2019: N618.7 billion)
  • Sterling Bank CRR – N215.5 billion (Dec 2019: N122.1 billion)
  • Sterling Bank got debited N93 billion so far this year
  • This breaks down to about N71.1 billion and N21.9 billion debited in the first and second quarters respectively.
  • CRR as a percentage of deposits as at June 2020 – 23.5%

READ MORE: As AMCON nears possible ‘liquidation’, what should we expect?

CBN CRR Policy

The central bank of Nigeria increased its cash reserve requirement (CRR) to 27.5% from 22.5% at the monetary policy committee meeting held on January 23rd to 24th. The CRR is the amount the CBN debits from banks accounts in compliance with its monetary policy objective of mandatorily keeping cash on behalf of banks. The amount is not available for banks to use.

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Sterling Bank Results

The Bank also published its 2020 second-quarter results showing net interest income was up 16% to N18 billion.

  • Pre-tax profits also rose 24% YoY to N3.3 billion despite the Covid-19 pandemic induced economic lockdowns.
  • Despite the improved profits, the bank did report a spike in its provisions for impairments jumping almost 3 folds to N5.3 billion.
  • To put this into context, Sterling Bank suffered an impairment of N5.8 billion in the whole of 2019.
  • Sterling Bank’s cost to income ratio remains high at about 86%.

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3 major ways COVID-19 will affect Banks’ 2020 profits

The oil price crash coupled with border closures have worsened Nigeria’s FX deficit.



Q1 2020, Disrupting Nigerian banks, Evolution of Nigerian banks in 59-years , GTB, UBA, Zenith, Access Banks’ salary advance loans, Can a company operate without a website in 2019? , Banks refund N3.09 billion to customers over claims on excess charges, fraud, others  , Bank CEOs applaud NCC’s decision to suspend USSD charges, GTBank, Zenith, Access, FBN, 10 others spend over N8 billion on CSR, Banking: Evolving trends in the bankers’ market, GTBank, Access, FBNH, Standard Chartered wrestle over women entrepreneurs , GTBank, Access Bank, Zenith, FBN, 16 others disburse CBN’s N610.4 billion to farmers , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, Banking sector NPLs down, loans up, Non-Performing Loans in Agriculture, construction, others rose to N143.76 billion, Asset seizure: Banks begins recovery of N6.125 trillion borrowed to the oil sector, Customer Experience: GTB, FCMB, Citibank, others emerge best banks in 2019, Nigeria’s top 5 banks spent more than N40 billion on adverts in 2019, Nigerian banks face risky future over low oil prices, coronavirus, Testing the financial strength of Nigerian banks

The last has definitely not been heard of the economic impact of COVID-19, despite the seeming normalcy that is beginning to return to the economy post lockdown. The Nigerian banking industry, which has consistently been the most profitable single sector traded on the NSE and accounts for over 50% of investors’ stock traded daily, may be set for hard times ahead notwithstanding their 2020 Q1 profits and their best efforts to adapt to the new normal.

From the shutting down of the economy for months to the closing of borders and business offices of banks, here are the 3 major ways in which COVID-19 will affect the 2020 profits of Nigeria’s Lenders:

  • Increase in impairment and bad loans

Impairments are an additional financial cost to the lender resulting from the reduction in the creditworthiness of the borrower while bad loans are literally loans that have gone… Bad (you guessed that). Whereas bad loans are to be written off completely by the lender, impairments are deductions that should reflect in financials of the lender pending when the loans become active.

In the wake of the pandemic, the CBN took proactive measures to ensure that Banks are protected from ruinous impairments by approving the request of the Lenders to restructure loans in their books allowing more time for debtors to pay.

Notwithstanding this initiative, loans (especially in the retail space) would most likely end up being written off as unemployment rates soar and the economy slowly recovers from the effects of the pandemic. Education, aviation, and the oil and gas sector do not seem on the path of recovery yet, and their delay would most likely cost lenders with sizable exposures in their respective industries.

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  • FX scarcity and Liquidity squeeze

These two sides of the same coin are causing painful gut-wrenching groans to be heard in the Banking sector, especially amongst lower-tiered Banks.

The oil price crash coupled with border closures have worsened Nigeria’s FX deficit and caused the CBN to employ unconventional means and policies to stabilize the Naira, even after a long-awaited devaluation.

Banks who are unable to meet the FX needs of their customers rush “cap in hand” to the CBN to get FX intervention for their corporate customers for whom the exorbitant parallel market rate is not an option. Instead of getting their requests met, their positions are debited and added to their CRR forcing them to reduce their FX demands and leave their customers dissatisfied. While this may lead to loss of deposit from these customers taking their businesses elsewhere, the major issue the Banks have with this discretionary CRR, is the foregone earnings that their extra CRR would have earned in the money market or through commercial loans.

Over N2trillion has been arbitrarily debited from Nigerian lenders since April in tranches of N1.4trillion, N300billion and N459.7billion causing some banks to have CRR in excess of the 27.5% agreed upon by the CBN Monetary Policy Committee in January 0f 2020.

The depreciating Naira is also inimical to Banks with FX denominated bonds, and is expected to impact their bottom line.

  • The macro economy and unfair competition

The relationship between Banks and the economy is complex. They are the gauge through which the pulse of the economy is felt, and the channel through which its life force can be restored. At no time is this complex relationship more evident than during severe economic strain, such as this pandemic. It is at this time that the Banks experience unfair competition from their regulators who are forced to provide direct, and cheaper funding to the economy sacrificing short term profitability of the Banks for long term sustainability of the economy.


In the wake of the pandemic, the CBN has provided series of intervention funds, ranging from the N50b household support, to the Agric fund, CIFI and MSME support funds at single interest rates, lower than the commercial Banks can afford.

Although the commercial Banks are listed as PFI (Performing Financial Institutions) for most of these funds, the commissions they stand to earn are in no way comparable to what it would have been had they been the direct lenders at commercial rates. This arrangement would definitely impact their creation of new risk assets and the accompanying income that would have found its way to their annual profit.

It’s not all gloom though, Bankers who chose to speak off-record claimed that the lockdown played a key role in increasing enrolments on their online platforms and the timing of the nationwide cashless policy was a “masterstroke” in ensuring that customers bought into e-channel transactions on which the Banks would earn fees and commissions. They claim that the pandemic also offered some Banks a rare opportunity to prune their operations cost without alarming their customers, as they were able to shut down not too profitable branches in some locations and redeploy their staff accordingly.

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A top Treasury official in one of the new generations Banks who sought anonymity said that Banks who have earned income in FX prior to the pandemic would enjoy revaluation profit, but was quick to add that this little margin would not offset their loss of income from Letters of credit not done due to border closures, nor will it write off the rate decline in risk-free investments of Banks buying Government Bonds.

With increased cost for operational branches due to adaptability to COVID-19 protocols amongst other things, it remains to be seen how Nigerian Banks would fare in this remarkable year. Their H1 results should give more insight.

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