The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has unfolded mouth–watering loan packages for all categories of enterprise owners in Anambra State. Top of the loan plan, which attracts only nine percent interest, is in the area of agriculture.
At a forum organized by all categories of self-employed people, including artisans, hairdressers, farmers, traders, manufacturers, among others in Awka, officials of the apex bank said with the programs put in place to shore up the business environment in the country, most Nigerians have no business remaining poor.
Acting director in the corporate communications department of the Bank, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor said the CBN decided to put in place a number of programmes to stabilize the economy, having realized that crude oil, which Nigerians had hinged their lives on for many years, might soon dry up, which therefore meant that there must be alternatives to ensure that the economy remains afloat.
He said that Nigeria has arable land for farming and urged the people to utilize the opportunity available in the agricultural sector to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, adding, “In the 1960s, agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy. During that period, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was built with proceeds from palm oil, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was built with proceeds from cotton and University of Ife was built with proceeds from cocoa. But when oil was discovered, we abandoned agriculture such that today, we import eggs from South Africa, rice from India and Thailand and even beef from Zambia.
“The unfortunate thing is that often times, these imported items are not good for human consumption and that is why the CBN has decided to educate people on the need to go back to agriculture. The plan we have for agriculture is such that by the end of next year, Nigeria will be self-sufficient in rice production with over six million metric tons annually.
“Besides, those involved in anchor borrowers’ schemes have become very rich following encouragement by the CBN. For instance, in Kebbi State alone, there are over 100000 farmers involved in the scheme, while other states, including Anambra, produce rice in very large quantities.”
Okoroafor explained that the easiest way to obtain the CBN loan facility was by forming cooperative societies especially if one does not have collateral for securing a loan from the bank. He also explained that one could use moveable assets and even educational certificates as collateral, all in a bid to assist Nigerians to earn a decent living.
Another issue that came up during the Awka CBN fair was the way and manner many Nigerians handle the naira, with officials of the bank listing penalties for those who abuse the country’s currency. “The naira is the country’s identity and should be given the desired respect. A situation whereby people rumple the naira as if it is something that has no value is unacceptable,” an assistant director, currency operations, Mr. S.A. Shuaibu said.
The deputy director, Consumer Protection of the CBN, Mrs. Georgina Nwankwo informed the participants that they have rights to query some activities of their banks, regretting that many Nigerians shy away from exercising such rights.