Bugaje who stated this at the opening of 2nd Special Training Workshop on Agricultural Islamic Finance held at the Postgraduate School of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.
According to him, the international workshop is meant to boost the revenue base of smallholder farmers at the grassroots by enabling them access loans with neither collateral nor interest.
The convener revealed that in Nigeria, over 90 per cent of our smallholder farmers who actually need assistance don’t access loan facilities from conventional banks in Nigeria.
Also it is discovered globally that the Agricultural Islamic Finance is the only sure way that would genuinely guarantee these people access to loan without the unnecessary protocols.
“The loan if accessed will enable the smallholder farmers boost their productivity, enhance revenue base and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
He said the new scheme, which is not meant for Muslims alone is tested in many countries and found to be the best alternative to conventional banking system, where profit and lose are shared according to agreed ratio.
Bugaje said the in the event of profit or loss both the bank that gives out the loan and the beneficiary that enjoys the loan get benefit according to the agreed ratio.
He said ARDP was was a development platform created about Sven years ago with the aim of ensuring sustainable financial development of smallholder farmers in Nigeria at large and Northern Nigeria in particular.
“Nigeria returned to democratic government in 1999, but eight years after, we discovered that despite the large amount of unprecedented revenue realised from oil, actually, poverty doubled.
“As we moved on, we discovered that our politics is becoming increasingly empty, it was not delivering, poverty was growing, conflict was increasing and there were so any other problems.
“So, we decided to bring in academic people with public service experience and people who have passion for reform and development of this country to come together and think through and see which is the best way to really address the problems,” he said.
In his speech the Chairman of the occasion, Maj-Gen. Paul Tarfa (Rtd) observed that the workshop should have come much earlier than now in view of its importance not only to smallholder farmers but to the entire nation.
He identified finance as the major problem of agricultural development in Nigeria despite the efforts of government in disbursing loans to farmers.
Tarfa urged the participants to take advantage of the workshop and ensure that they disseminate the information acquired to others.”
In his remarks, the Secretary, AFRACA, Saleh Usman-Gashua said the organisation was a heterogeneous network established in 1977 with the mandate of developing inclusive development finance.
“Our mandate is to make sure that everyone has access to sustainable financial services and our mandate is not only limited to credit but we are also looking payments, insurance transfers, encouraging savings among others.
“We also have what we called ‘impessa’ where you can transact business in billions of Kenya shillings in a day, we have also ‘m-sure’ where you can give loans, recover loans within 24 hours without knowing even where is your bank,” he noted.
Also in his remarks, the ABU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba described the University as the home of agriculture in Nigeria being the host of three important agricultural institutes with national mandate of agricultural research and development.
The workshop drew facilitators and participants from Kenya, Togo, Ghana and Uganda as well as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among others.