CBN warns banks against charging over 9% on intervention funds

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) in the country against charging double-digit interest on any intervention funds guaranteed by the CBN.

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the warning in Abeokuta, Ogun State,South West Nigeria during an interaction between the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and Production and young farmers at the Owowo Model Farm Estate.

Mr Emefile said that the apex bank would streamline logistics and mechanisms to ease access to funds for the development of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in order to guarantee employment, create wealth and meet the country’s food needs.

Mr Emefile, who assured the young farmers of the Bank’s funding support through their respective PFIs, asked them to report any bank that charges them above 9% interest on loans guaranteed by the CBN.

Emefiele added: “When we find a state that is serious and ready to work with us, we burst the commercial agricultural credit scheme facility that we have because the President has mandated that those who are serious, we must support. That is the essence of this.”

He stressed that the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) will be properly restructured by the Federal government towards assisting farmers to boost agricultural production in the country and ensure food sufficiency.

Emefiele said that if the restructuring was eventually done, it would help the bank to perform its primary responsibilities well.

The CBN governor explained that the team was mandated by the president to go round the entire federation on a fact-finding mission on how to resuscitate some of the age-long agricultural potentials of the country.

Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh assured the youth of Government’s support in their quest to make legitimate earnings from agriculture.

Ogbeh, who frowned at the spate of importation of goods that can be easily produced in Nigeria, expressed confidence in the ability of the youth to produce agricultural commodities that will earn the country the much-needed foreign exchange.

He also commended the effort of the CBN Governor, who he noted was very concerned about the import bills of the country, particularly as it had to do with rice importation.

In his remarks, the Kebbi State Governor and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and Production, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Bagudu commended the support of the CBN in revamping agricultural value chains across different crop types.

He also lauded the efforts of the Ogun State Government in boosting agriculture in the State.

For his part  host-Governor, Senator Ibikunle assured  that his administration would partner with the CBN and do all within available resources to fund the agricultural sector.