Uche Usim and Joseph Inokotong Abuja
Director General of the Burean of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, has said the planned restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture(BoA), was aimed at improving its operating framework and governance structure.
Speaking at the kick-off meeting for the recapitalisation of the bank on Tuesday, in Abuja, Okoh said the bank had performed sub-optimally due to the myriad of challenges it faced since inception in 1972.
According to him, “the process will lead to the privatisation of equity of the bank. We envisage that the Central Bank equity will be reduced to 20 per cent, Federal Ministry of Finance (incorporated) will be reduced to 20 per cent.
“The government agencies equity in the new bank will be a minority of 40 per cent. We will then invite private sector investors who will own 20 per cent and the remaining 40 per cent equity will be owned by farmers and farmers’ cooperatives”.
Okoh stated that the new strategy envisages that BoA would be transformed into a truly agriculture finance bank modeled along the lines of Agriculture Bank of China and Rabobank of the Netherlands, adding that upon its establishment in 1972 to serve as an agricultural and cooperative bank to provide services of a development finance institution, it was vested with the responsibility of providing low cost credit to small holder and commercial farmers. In a statement Thursday in Abuja, its Head, Public Communications Amina Tukur Othman, said he, however, lamented that the bank had been unable to realise its responsibilities due to its current structure, stressing that the proposed restructuring and recapitalisation of the bank seek to transform it strictly into an agricultural finance bank with functional branches in all the local government areas and major towns in Nigeria.
Okoh said that the model was sure to encourage farmers to form clusters of cooperatives and thrift societies throughout the six geo-political zones for the purpose of participating in the ownership of the bank.