NCP Committee Recommends BOA-NIRSAL Merger, Injection Of Fresh Capital

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*Photo R-L: VP Kashim Shettima; Mr Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Minister for Budget and Economic Planning at the NCP meeting on Wednesday *

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has received key recommendations from its committee on the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), including a proposed merger with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s NIRSAL Microfinance Ltd and a fresh capital injection to revitalize the bank.

Addressing the second NCP meeting of 2024 at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, reiterated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to repositioning and reforming BOA to drive the administration’s food security agenda.

“Let’s get very sound professionals with integrity to manage the bank. If we use it well, it’s going to be a tool for the transformation of our economy because agriculture is the key,” the Vice President said.

Presenting the committee’s report, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, who doubles as NCP Vice-Chairman, said the Council’s decision was informed by the challenges identified and the need for urgent resolution of the issues confronting the Bank.

Edun outlined the major recommendations, including “the immediate reconstitution of the Board of Directors of the Bank to enhance corporate governance” and “a merger of BOA with the CBN’s NIRSAL Microfinance Ltd.”

He also highlighted the proposal to “cede National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) land titles to BOA so that it reflects in its Balance Sheet, thus increasing its capital adequacy for the purpose of raising funds from institutional investors.”

Acknowledging the need for financial reinforcement, the Minister identified “adequate capital injection into the Bank by the shareholders” as a crucial step forward.

The committee’s report comes after the NCP empanelled an 8-member inter-ministerial body in December 2023 to review the state of affairs at BOA, given agriculture’s critical role in the economy and the Tinubu administration’s commitment to food security under the Renewed Hope Agenda.

In 2016, the NCP had approved the collaboration between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the then Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Federal Ministry of Finance to restructure and recapitalize BOA.

A consultant, Lead Capital Consortium, was engaged in 2019 to review the bank’s operations and advise on strategies for rebirth and growth. The consultant’s core recommendation was for the government to recapitalize the bank, implement reforms, provide technical assistance, and transform BOA into a sustainable agricultural development bank.

Edun further outlined additional recommendations, including “Provision and upgrade of the Bank’s ICT infrastructure to automate processes, reduce costs and enhance the Bank’s outreach to the grassroots” and “Enhance governance and risk management by appointing qualified Board members and senior management with relevant expertise.”

In a move to bring transparency and efficiency to the nation’s energy sector, the NCP also noted the proposal seeking approval for the establishment of an independent system operator from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

NCP Chairman, Vice President Shettima, set up a committee to liaise with the Special Adviser to the President on Energy and the Federal Ministry of Power to provide a roadmap and reach out to stakeholders.

The committee is chaired by Mr. Oye Hassan-Odukale, Technical Committee Chairman of NCP.

On a Strategy Paper for the Optimisation of Oil and Gas Assets, the Council also formed a committee to look into issues concerning oil and gas infrastructure, stressing the strategic importance of investors in the sector.

The committee chaired by the Minister for Budget and Economic Planning includes the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, the NCP Secretariat, the Ministers of Power, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas),

The committee was given three weeks to come up with its report on optimizing the nation’s oil and gas assets.

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