From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Nigerian farmers might soon begin to access cheaper loans, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has said.
Emefiele said the loan currently given to farmers through the Anchor Borrowers Programme at nine per cent interest rate may be reviewed with time to make it “more affordable and easily accessible to them so that they can go to the farm, buy inputs and then grow the agricultural produce that we need very badly to feed our people.”
CBN Governor, who spoke on the sideline to newsmen yesterday, at the inauguration of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) Steering Committee on the Restructuring and Recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Project Delivery Team to revitalise the operations of the bank, noted that the introduction of Bio-metric Verification Number (BVN) will make debt recovery easier.
Inaugurating the Steering Committee and Project Delivery Team on behalf of the Vice President, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who also doubles as Chairman of the Committee, stated that the approach was aimed at making the BOA more responsive to its mandate of serving as a veritable platform for providing loans to MSMEs, rural farmers, cooperatives and agro-allied industries, among others.
He added that the approach was preferred by the Federal Government as a pre-privatization strategy to pave way for recapitalization and injection of other requisite resources.
“It is therefore the conviction of my Ministry that the approved restructuring and recapitalization are critical to the revitalization of the bank’s operations, as it will enable the bank serve as a strong catalyst for achieving Government objectives”, Ogbeh stated.
He charged the steering committee with the mandate to midwife the laudable initiative to be implemented within a record time.
The Committee will be technically supported by the Project Delivery Team, made up of experienced personnel drawn from key stakeholder agencies of Government.
The Ministers of Finance, National Budget & Planning, and Industry, Trade and Investment, Governor of Central Bank, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) are some of the steering committee members.
Others are Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Special Adviser to the Vice President on Economics, General Manager, Finance and Accounts, BOA, representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Sector Director, BPE, who serves as the Committee’s Secretary.