From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
The Federal Government has restated it’s commitment to repositioning the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) by proposing the sum of N25bn for the development banks recapitalisation.
This was against the initial N500 billion kick-off fund targeted by the government.
In the 2019 proposed budget presented to the Joint Assembly recently in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated in his budget speech that N15 billion was already proposed to refinance the BOA and N10 billion for the development banks.
A look into the ministry’s N138 billion budget revealed that the money truly reflected in the budget.
The gesture according to the President is to ensure that credit supports are given to farmers and other Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) at single digits.
The proposed budget of the ministry has N80.2 billion as capital while N57.6 billion was alloted for expenditure.
Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh have repteadly at public functions shared the news of repositioning the bank for better efficiency.
In January 2017, the VP inaugurated a steering committee for the Bank’s recapitalisation and restructuring where Ogbeh was made the Vice Chairman of the Committee with a N500 billion target for the exercise.
The actual kick-off ought to be in March 2017, as disclosed by the Minister but a year after it’s yet to fully commence.
“It is noteworthy that in its over 20 years of existence, the BoA has faced myriad of challenges which include, poor funding, poor stakeholder buy in, particularly Federal Government agencies and erosion of stakeholders funds,” Ogbeh stated as reported in a national daily.
The Minister further set December 2018 as deadline for the exercise but the budget was only proposed to the National Assembly at the stated month.
However, Ogbeh expressed hope that the final recapitalisation will really help the local farmers.
He emphasised that it would emerge as the farmers’ Bank where farmers are encouraged to buy shares to own the bank.