Agric fund: CBN releases N70.74bn to banks


By Emeka Ezekiel, Abuja Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010  


The Central Bank of Nigeria has released N70.74bn from the N200bn Commercial Agriculture Credit Fund to Deposit Money Banks across the country.The CBN Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, who disclosed this at the fourth Enterprise Exhibition Investment Trade Mission in Abuja, on Monday, said the money would be used to finance 68 projects across the country.


The agric credit scheme was introduced in March to fast-track the development of the agricultural sector by providing credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at single digit rate.The scheme has a seed fund of N200bn being proceeds of the N200bn seven-year bond raised by the Debt Management Office. It is made available to participating banks to finance agricultural enterprises.


Sanusi, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Development Finance, CBN, Mr. Mudashiru Olaitan, also said that the apex bank had released additional N130bn to the Bank of Industry to help finance 317 projects under the N200bn Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises Refinancing and Restructuring Fund.He said, “The N200bn Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme will help to reduce the cost of credit in agricultural production to enable farmers to exploit the potential of the sector by increasing output, generating employment and diversifying the revenue base.


“As at July 2010, the sum of N70.737bn had been released to Deposit Money Banks for disbursement to 68 projects, including seven sub-national governments.”He added, “Similarly, the N200bn SME Refinancing and Restructuring Fund is to create liquidity for Deposit Money Banks involved in the financing of the manufacturing firms.


“It will fast-track the development of the SME sector, in addition to setting the pace for industrialisation of the Nigerian economy.“The fund is being disbursed by the Bank of Industry. A total of N130,199,421.08 for 317 projects has been released to BoI for disbursement to banks for their clients.”


The CBN governor, however, stressed that there was an urgent need for the government to remove bottlenecks militating against the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment into the country.He said, “ The Diaspora Community can tap into the various opportunities that abound in Nigeria in order to contribute to the achievement of national development . To encourage Diaspora community, the government should scale down the bureaucratic obstacles that could inhibit development.


“There should be improved networking between the relevant agencies of government and Nigerians abroad. The government must accelerate infrastructure development to drastically bring down the cost of doing business. This will enhance the mobilization of diaspora funds for national development”Also speaking during the event, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Ms .Evelyn Oputu, stated that global financial crisis had provided a viable investment window for investors to tap into the hugely untapped potentials in the Nigerian economy.


She said, “The global financial meltdown and the over maturation in the markets of the developed countries present very good opportunities for those in the Diaspora to seize along with their partners in Europe and the Americas by embarking on joint ventures in Nigeria – a country whose investment potentials remain largely untapped. With the support of their business associates in their second countries, they should be able to catalyze more Foreign Direct Investments into Nigeria.





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