The Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed that a total of N503bn representing 52.39 percent of the disbursed funds under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has been paid by farmers.
This contradicts the claim by the International Monetary Fund that only 24 percent of the loan had been paid.
The new development was disclosed in a statement on Monday by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, AbdulMumin Isa.
This publication recalls that the IMF’s report completed on Jan. 12 stressed the low turnout of farmers to pay the ABP fund either in cash or kind given by the CBN.
According to the document, “ the Anchor Borrowing Programme, repayment is also low at 24 per cent, especially since repayment can be made in kind, thereby limiting the tenor of the loans to one year.
“Part of the problem is that the incentive structure for repayment is weak, the recipient loans are not always well targeted and occasionally the funding is used for other purchases (e.g., new agricultural input trading companies to elicit trading rents).”
According to The Punch, Isa refuted the claim by stating that N1.079 trillion has been released under the program and N960 billion is due for payment.
He said that the CBN scheme helped 4.45 million smallholder farmers who planted over 6.02 million hectares of 21 different commodities.
It was reported that the acting spokesperson, Isa, cited the data from Food and Agriculture Organisation, noting that the CBN’s ABP had contributed immensely to the “increased national output of focal commodities, with maize and rice peaking at 12.2 and 9.0 million metric tonnes in 2021 and 2022, respectively.”
According to him, the COVID-19 forbearance provided to recipients of the apex bank’s interventions in March 2020 and prolonged to February 28, 2022, kept the outstanding due balance on loans subject to a moratorium.
“It is pertinent to note that the tenor of loans under the ABP is based on the commodity gestation period.
“For instance, loans granted to farmers cultivating some perennial crops could have up to seven-year tenor,” he said.
He further stated, “The Central Bank of Nigeria remains committed to its developmental mandate of stimulating access to finance for the real sector, particularly agriculture, as it continues to support the Federal Government’s drive for food security and economic growth. Accordingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria continues to welcome applications from eligible Nigerian farmers and firms under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.”