The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday disclosed that it had guaranteed a total of N122.632 billion loans under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF).
Making the disclosure at the National Award Ceremony for the Best Farmer of the Year 2020 under the scheme held in Abuja, the Chairman of the Fund’s Board, Mr. Stephen Okon, said that in 2020 year alone, the apex bank guaranteed 30,267 loans valued at N4.32 billion.
According to him, the cumulative loans guaranteed from the scheme’s inception in 1977 up to last year stood at 1. 180 million, totaling N122.632 billion in value.
Okon pointed out that the Fund had positively impacted on agriculture and agri-business in the country, especially since the increase of its share capital from N3 billion to N50 billion, in line with current realities.
He explained: “The amended Act introduced new strategies aimed at repackaging and repositioning the scheme for greater effectiveness and efficiency towards re-positioning Nigeria as a self-sufficient food producer, creating millions of jobs, supplying key markets across the country and damping the effects of exchange rate movements on local prices.
“Equally, the maximum amount for loans without collateral was increased from N20, 000 to N100, 000, while the maximum for loans with collateral was increased from N10 million to N50 million.
“Furthermore, the recently amended Act allowed for complete agricultural value chain financing which includes the financing of production of farm machinery, implements and equipment for production, processing, storage and transportation and any purpose connected with the activities within the agricultural value chain”, Okon added.
The Chairman also said that the rate of loans re-payment under the scheme had been encouraging, with beneficiaries enjoying 40 percent Interest Drawback for timely re-payment.
In his remarks at the forum, the CBN Director of Development Finance, Mr. Philip Yila, restated the apex bank’s commitment to the nation’s economic diversification drive, particularly the agricultural sector component in view of its job creation and other benefits to the country.
According to him, the Anchor Borrowers Programme has changed the narrative in the agricultural value-chain, resulting in massive rice production.
The banker expressed optimism that with the allocation of rice paddy to millers across the country, the price of the commodity would soon begin to come down in the market.