…Says Anchors Borrowers have received N43 b
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Efforts to ensure Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) play by the rules are yielding significant yielding as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recovered over N50 billion excessive charges.
Some banks have consistently over-charged their customers for services provided, despite CBN’s repeated warnings against the practice.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said at the on-going Abuja International Trade Fair, Wednesday, that excessive charges must be stopped as the practice is against the campaign for banking inclusion and fair deal.
He urged the banking public to promptly report incidences of excessive charges, when discovered, to the Consumer Protection Department of the CBN for action.
The CBN, he said, has established the necessary mechanism to reverse every form of unwholesome practice by DMBs.
Speaking on the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Mr. Okoroafor revealed that N43.92 billion has been given to farmers across the country.
According to him, the ABP has changed the face of agriculture in the country, as farming has become a serious business for many people.
He disclosed that over 200,000 small holder farmers from 29 states have benefited from the programme in which participants are not only given loans but also matched with off-takers to buy their produce.
Under the ABP, he added eight commodities: rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soyabeans, poultry, cassava and groundnuts are being cultivated on 233,000 hectares of farmland.
There is also a fish farming component of the programme.
The programme, Mr. Okorafor, added, has added value to the policy of the apex bank not to sell foreign exchange to importers of the 41 items it announced earlier.
According to him, importing goods that Nigerians can produce is only providing jobs for other nationals at the detriment of Nigerians and the nation’s economy.
His words, “We cannot let our farmers go hungry while we enrich farmers from other countries. This is why we said for some certain items, which are 41 in number, if you want to import any of them, go and look for your own foreign exchange.
“As a complementary measure, we put in place the Anchor borrowers programme for agriculture to make farmers rise up and fill the space and gap created by the non importation of those items. The programme has given us over two million tons of rice when our national demand is at about six million tons. This has taken our national output to about four million tons in the first year.
“The CBN is very hopeful that we will further add at least another 2 million tons of rice this year and that will take us up to 6 million tons. We are envisaging that by this time next year, Nigeria should be self sufficient in rice production.”
Okorafor reiterated the bank’s commitment to continually reel out proactive policies and schemes to ensure that the Nigerian economy remained strong and sufficient through non-oil exports.
In his remarks, the Second Deputy President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ABUCCIMA) Alh. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, appealed to the CBN to reconsider some of its policies which he said were hurting Small and Mediun Enterprises (SMEs).
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