By Tolu Akinbo

 Repayment of Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) hits N503 million which represents 52.39 per cent, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.

   The Acting Director, Cothe rporate Communications Department of the apex bank, Dr AbdulMumin Isa, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the bank remains committed to its developmental mandate of stimulating access to finance for the real sector.

  He clarified that the balance of N0.119 trillion was not due for repayment.

   Dr Isa added that N1.079 trillion was released as of February 28, 2023, out of which N0.960 trillion was due for repayment.

    According to him, the CBN ABP had supported about 4.57 million smallholder farmers at the end of February, 2023, who cultivated over 6.02 million hectares of 21 commodities across the country.

  He listed the commodities as rice, wheat, cowpea, millet, maize, cotton, fish, soya bean, poultry, cassava, groundnut, ginger, sorghum, oil palm, cocoa, sesame, tomato, castor seed, yellow pepper, onions, and cattle/dairy.

    Citing statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA), Dr. Isa noted that the ABP had contributed significantly to the increased national output of focal commodities, with maize and rice peaking at 12.2 and 9.0 million metric tonnes in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

  He stressed the programme had also helped to improve the national average yield per hectare of these commodities, with productivity per hectare almost doubling within the eight years of the Programme’s implementation.

   While noting that repayments under the ABP were made through cash or produce by the beneficiaries, the Acting Spokesperson of the CBN stressed that the outstanding due balance on loans was still under moratorium due to the COVID-19 forbearance granted to beneficiaries of the Bank’s interventions in March 2020 and extended to February 28, 2022.

   “It is pertinent to note that the tenor of loans under the ABP is based on the commodity gestation period. For instance, loans granted to farmers cultivating some perennial crops could have up to a seven-year tenor,” he explained.

    Dr. Isa emphasised that the Bank’s interventions, with the core objective of catalysing the economy’s productive base, have continued to support investments in capital assets in sectors with high-growth and employment-elastic potential.

    “The Central Bank of Nigeria remains committed to its developmental mandate of stimulating access to finance for the real sector, particularly agriculture, as it continues to support the Federal Government’s drive for food security and economic growth. Accordingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria continues to welcome applications from eligible Nigerian farmers and firms under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme,” he added.


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