Forex account managers in nigeria Kamal, a graduate of economics from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, will soon shut down his nine-year-old poultry farm in Mowe, Ogun State. N500,000 out of the N2m that I needed, and guess what! The interest rate was 27 per cent. Lamenting the high cost of running a poultry business, Kamal said just like him, many of his colleagues had lost fortunes.
Topping the list of our problems is the high cost of poultry feed, which constitutes about 75 per cent of the cost of production. Talking about poultry feed, we mainly use grains like maize, soya bean, and groundnut. A tonne of maize is being sold for as high as N160,000 as against N50,000 in some countries. Soya bean is being sold at about N135,000 per tonne as against N80,000 in some countries. The cost of running a poultry farm in Nigeria is too high. And like I said before, our other big problem is the inability to secure a loan to expand our business. When we finally get one, the interest rate could make you commit suicide if you’re not mentally strong.
In search of solace due to his depressing condition, Kamal recently visited his long-time friend, simply called Johnson, who became the pastor of a Lagos Pentecostal church shortly after they both graduated from the university. To his amazement, Johnson would soon complete his glittering church edifice after securing a N15m loan from one of the commercial banks in the city. After hearing this, poor Kamal was thrown in a lather. Kamal has not yet got over the shock since December 2017 when he visited his pastor friend. Commercial banks are expected to provide credit facilities to viable profit-making organisations such as corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, but not to religious houses such as churches. But, Saturday PUNCH findings revealed that churches — notably those in big commercial cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Warri — are the new bride of commercial banks, with the latter dishing out millions of naira in loans to churches which need such facilities. Investigations further revealed that churches use such credit facilities to purchase land, build auditoriums, and occasionally establish ventures such as schools and hospitals.
To get access to credit facilities readily, our correspondent learnt that some churches now take bookkeeping seriously, with some of them employing accountants and internal auditors. If the church already has an account with us and we know how consistent it is in depositing money with us, it is easier. We just have to open a special loan account for them, wherein they pay back their loan from their tithes and offerings. Some pay the agreed amount every week while some pay every month. It depends on the church’s modality of collecting tithes and offerings. We, however, don’t just give out loans because they are churches.
They are conveniently paying us back from their tithes and offerings. In my 17 years of banking experience, seldom do small businesses thrive in Nigeria. They rarely turn in good profits that could make them attract loans. If we are going to give you a loan as a small business owner, you have to really convince us that your business is highly profitable.