The federal government and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the implementation of the Federal Public Service Entrepreneurship Programme on agriculture.
Through the MoU signed with the Managing Director of BOA, Alwan Ali Hassan, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) would adopt an agri-preneurship start-up scheme for serving officers and hold pre-retirement training and business start-up schemes for prospective retirees.
To enable the full implementation of the programme, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, inaugurated the Project Steering Committee and the Project Implementation Committee to provide policy guideline and enabling environment to allow civil servants go into farming while in service as well as after retirement as permitted by the Nigerian constitution.
She urged civil servants to take advantage of the opportunity offered so that by the time they retire they would have paid off the loan by BOA.
Yemi-Esan described the initiative as the first in the series of initiatives pioneered to ensure that the welfare of civil servants is accorded a place of priority during and after service.
Also, in order to ensure the sustainability of the programme, there was the creation of a federal public service farm estate, an integrated agriculture estate farm featuring the entire agriculture value chain.
The Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office (SWO), Dr Evelyn Ngige, said the public service farm estate would ensure the self-sustenance of the entrepreneurship programme within a short period.
She said loan payment would be made from the profit from the farm only and the repayment schedule is to be based on each agric products.
Ngige said the government was also working with the Bank of Industry, SMEDAN, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for retirees that are interested in going into oil and gas.
In his remarks, Hassan described the agric value chain as very large. He urged civil servants to key into the areas they have interest and expertise in particularly farming, fishing, livestock, poultry.
He urged them to approach any of the banks’ over 100 outlets across the country on the possibility of opening an account or other relationships.