The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday defended the apex bank’s agriculture intervention programme.
He stated that it was untrue that the bank had been partial in the disbursement of funds.
He also said that Companies operating in Southern Nigeria have received over N300bn through the Anchor Borrower Programme.
Emefiele made this disclosure in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Tuesday in reaction to criticism that the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme was skewed in favour of agricultural interests in Northern Nigeria.
Emefiele said all states in Southern part of the country had been touched by the CBN’s agriculture interventions.
Under the ABP programme, Emefiele said the CBN is supporting over 21 different crops.
Emefiele said, “For record purposes, Southern parts of the country have been massively supported by our interventions.
“Between N600bn to N700bn disbursed via Anchor Borrower, over N300 billion was disbursed to companies operating in Southern parts of the country”.
“Over N10bn was disbursed to the Lagos State for 32 tonnes per hour rice mill. Lagos, Kogi, Niger and Kwara have been supported to produce rice paddies to feed the mills. We’re also supporting cocoa and other crops in the South.
“In South South, the CBN disbursed N10bn in 2019 to companies in Edo State going into oil palm. Another N7bn went to companies that process the oil. We disbursed N20bn to Okomu oil palm and Presco. We’re back to Ekiti State in July to support milk production to show Nigerians that we can produce our own milk.”
He described Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as a game changer for financing smallholder farmers, at the same time arguing that it will help in meeting some of the government’s goals under the Economic Sustainability Plan.
He said implementation of ABP in the past five years have led to significant improvements in agricultural outputs as well as increase in incomes for rural communities.