BY EMEKA EJERE
The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has urged bandits and those living in the bushes to drop their arms and embrace the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the apex bank.
Emefiele stated this while responding to questions at the 2-day Monetary Policy Committee Meeting which ended on Tuesday, May 25.
Stressing the need to address the problem of insecurity in driving economic growth, Godwin Emefiele explained that while the apex bank was doing all it could to stimulate growth, insecurity remained a challenge, and thus chided bandits to drop arms and partake in the government’s agriculture transformation programs such as the anchor borrowers.
Emefiele believes insecurity has been a major challenge in attaining the sort of growth expected from the trillions in stimulus already injected into the economy.
According to the CBN governor, the committee noted with great concern the implications of the current high rate of insecurity on agriculture, food prices, and the economy as a whole, calling on the Federal Government to quickly sort out the security challenges around the country in order to successfully tackle inflation.
At the end of the meeting the central bank monetary policy committee members voted to keep all rates the same.
The ABP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, “to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and smallholder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities. The programme thrust of the ABP is provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food. At harvest, the SHF supplies his/her produce to the Agro-processor (Anchor) who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.”
Recently, the CBN reported that 2,923,937 farmers have benefitted from the Programme. In addition, 3,647,643 hectares have been cultivated by farmers under the Programme while 21 commodity sectors benefited from the program.
In the 2020 wet season Banks under the CBN-RIFAN partnership financed 221,450 farmers for the cultivation of 221,450 hectares in 32 States. Despite all this, the Agriculture sector grew by 2.28% in Q1 2021 compared to the 3.42% recorded in Q4 2020.