AS the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announces the new agricultural interest rate lending to farmers, processors and others in the value chain, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh have charged farmers to ensure that they repay the money they borrow from banks.
Ogbeh also said that the Ministry will partner with the CBN, banks and farmers cooperatives to ensure that farmers comply with the conditions to access the loans from banks.
It will be recalled that before now, banks lend to farmers at about 25 to 30 per cent interest rate, which makes it impossible for farmers to access the loans because they can’t repay at such a high-interest rate, but the CBN recently announced the new interest rate to agriculture which is at 9 per cent interest rate.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Chief Ogbeh said “we want to express our profound joy and appreciation for the new policy of lending put in place by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), we have been advocating this for many years long before coming here, I have always had this strong feeling that the lending rate in Nigeria simply could not sustain growth in the economy,
“Those interest rates before now have been definitely been responsible in large measure for the slow growth and the high incapacity of Nigeria to create jobs for young people in particular and for the economy to flourish.
“So, we want to thank the CBN, the committee of bankers for listening to our appeal, I wish to inform them that this bold and revolutionary policy is deeply appreciated by farmers and manufacturers, I see it as a first major step to have been taken towards reversing the horrible damage done to Africa by the structural adjustment program of the mid 80s.
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He, therefore said “we want to urge borrowers especially farmers and industrialists to ensure that whatever they borrow, they repay because banks are not charity organisations, we in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture will join hands with the banks and the CBN, to play a major role in making sure that whatever farmers borrow, the repay, especially as we intend to use the cooperatives to move the agriculture credit to the most vulnerable segment of our population mainly, the women and the youths.
“We believe that under these conditions, our youths, women, big and small-scale farmers can now have access to credits to fulfil their dreams and drive Nigeria towards self-sufficiency in food production and make Nigeria a major force in agricultural production worldwide”.
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