CBN has spent N43bn to fund Anchor Borrowers Programme
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has so far spent N43.92 billion to fund its Anchor Borrowers Programme which has already lifted thousands of small-holder farmers and generated a lot of jobs for unemployed Nigerians.
Isaac Okorafor, CBN Acting Director of corporate communications said on Wednesday that the money was released to active farmers through thirteen participating institutions with over 200,000 small holder farmers from twenty nine states benefitting.
He also noted that about 233,000 hectares of farmland has been cultivated with eight commodities, including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soya-beans, poultry, cassava and groundnuts, in addition to fish farming.
Okorafor was speaking during the ‘CBN Special Day” at the 12th Abuja International Trade Fair in Abuja with the theme, “Returning Nigeria to the path of sufficiency through Non-oil Exports”.
He said Anchor Borrowers Programme produced two million tons of rice in the first year of its commencement and will hopefully add another two million tons by the second year, and help push the country to sufficiency in rice by next year.
Okorafor assured that there are not what he called ‘political farmers’ under the programme and that funds are disbursed to beneficiaries based on substantiated claims.
He also noted that so far, there has been a quantum leap in local production of most of the commodities contained in the list of the 41 items not eligible for official FOREX allocation or access in the country.
“The success achieved through the policy had resulted in many Nigerians consuming what we produce and producing what we consume,” Okorafor who represented the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the event stated.
“Reports from the real sector operators also indicate that some companies had grown in geometric progression as a result of the policy,” he added.
He also mentioned that the CBN has continued to fund the foreign exchange window in a bid to stabilize the naira, and, according to him, “all these steps were taken with the sole purpose of strengthening, stabilizing, and repositioning our economy towards returning Nigeria to the path of sufficiency through non-oil exports and conserving our much needed foreign exchange.”
He said the CBN was participating in the fair as a testimony to its passion in supporting every effort geared towards returning the country to the path of sufficiency through non-oil exports.
The CBN spokesperson reminded the audience that the nation’s economic mainstay is being threatened by the instability in the global oil prices and, strongly observed the need for urgent diversification of the economy through non-oil exports.
He was hopeful that Nigeria could achieve self-sufficiency through non-oil exports, explaining CBN’s active eighteen intervention schemes.
At the event, Tony Ejinkonye, President Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the Trade Fair seeks to showcase Nigeria’s innovation in goods and services, mobilise local and foreign investment to the priority sectors of the economy and deepen innovation and competitiveness of the Nigeria economy, among others.
He said in this context, monetary variables, monetary policies and programmes are critical to achieving the macroeconomic objectives and targets, noting that the economy can only be inclusive and sustain growth when monetary policy is efficient and consistent.
He commended the CBN for playing its stabilizing role well, especially in the huge success of the Anchor Borrowers programme as well as the investors and exporters foreign exchange special window which has facilitated about $7billion and made forex more accessible to manufacturers and businesses.
Ejinkonye, however, emphasized that the subsisting high lending rate is stifling production and productivity of the real sector especially for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
“We therefore urge CBN to reconsider its policy stand in this regard,” he stated.
Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja
Big Read |