9 Per cent Lending Rate: Farmers to Access N10bn each, Says Agric Minister

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From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja

Following the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on 9 per cent lending rate, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Wednesday said farmers can access maximum of N10billion.

He said rural farmers have the same privilege but could start from N300, 000 credit support.

Ogbeh disclosed this during a press briefing at his office in Abuja. He applauded the President and Committee of Bankers adding that the policy would develop the agricultural sector, create jobs and promote food security through loans disbursement to rural women and youth at the grassroots.

“The tenure for this loan is good, seven years tenure, two years moratorium and maximum of N10 billion per borrowers but I appeal to the borrowers, if you are going to take this loan, you have to swear to God that you will repay. We don’t want the banks losing all their money.”

However, the minister urged borrowers to ensure whatever was being borrowed are repaid as financial institutions are profit making organizations.

Ogeh assured that the ministry would ensure loan repayment adding that government intends to disburse the funds through cooperatives to rural farmers in the country, who are largely women and youths.

“We believe that under this condition, our youth and women, big and small scale farmers can now have access to credit to fulfill their dreams and drive Nigeria towards self-sufficiency in food production.

“We have to grow our agriculture and to grow agriculture, you need cheaper credits. 18, 25 and 35 per cent are for traders, not producers and I am glad the central bank has recognized this. I have complained about this since 1986.”

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