The Acting Director in the Corporate Communications Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. AbdulMumin Isa has vowed that the Bank remains committed to its mandate of stimulating access to finance for the real sector of the economy.
He said that the apex Bank, in its determination to carry out its mandate, was able to ensure a total repayments on the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as at February 2023, to be
N0.503 trillion, representing 52.39 per cent and that the balance of N0.119 trillion was not due for repayment.
Dr. AbdulMumin Isa, who spoke to news men today, March 6, on the performance of the ABP, said that the Bank has released the sum of
N1.079 trillion, as of February 28, 2023, of which N0.960 trillion was due for repayment.
According to him, the CBN’s ABP has supported about 4.57 million smallholder farmers at the end-February, 2023, through cultivation of over 6.02 million hectares of 21 commodities across the country.
He listed the commodities as rice, wheat, cowpea, millet, maize, cotton, fish, soya bean, poultry, cassava, groundnut, ginger, sorghum, oil palm, cocoa, sesame, tomato, castor seed, yellow pepper, onions, and cattle/dairy.
Dr. Isa cited statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA), and said that the ABP has contributed significantly 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.
He said that the programme has also helped to improve the national average yield per hectare of these commodities, with productivity per hectare almost doubling within the eight years of the Programme’s implementation.
According to him, repayments under the ABP are made through cash or produce by the beneficiaries, saying that the outstanding due balance on loans is still under moratorium due to the COVID-19 forbearance granted to beneficiaries of the Bank’s interventions in March 2020 and extended to February 28, 2022.
“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.”
Dr. Isa emphasized that the Bank’s interventions, with the core objective of catalyzing the economy’s productive base, have continued to support investments in capital assets in sectors with high-growth and employment-elastic potential.
“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.”