Banks repay N387bn agric loans to CBN

Out of a total of N622bn disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to banks under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, about N387.2bn has been repaid.

Details of the repayment are contained in an economic report of the CBN, obtained by journalists on Friday.

The Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme is a sub-component of the Federal Government Commercial Agriculture Development Programme financed from the proceeds of the N200bn seven-year bond raised by the Debt Management Office.

The fund is made available to participating banks to finance commercial agricultural enterprises at a maximum interest rate of nine per cent.

In addition, each state government could borrow up to N1bn for on-lending to farmers’ cooperative societies and other areas of agricultural development provided such initiatives are in line with the objectives of the CACS.

The CBN established the CACS in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources in 2009 to fast-track the development of the agricultural sector; enhance national food security; reduce the cost of credit in agricultural production; increase national output; generate employment; and raise the level of foreign exchange earnings of the country.

Analysis of the report showed that out of the N83.5bn disbursed by the CBN to the United Bank of Africa for 52 projects, about N53bn was repaid.

Zenith Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria repaid the sum of N83.3bn and N44.8bn out of the N126.94bn and N52.99bn received respectively.

Also, Unity Bank repaid N13.9bn; Union Bank, N21.5bn; Stanbic IBTC, N19.7bn; Sterling Bank, N28.9bn; Access Bank, N30.3bn; Fidelity Bank, N14.3bn; and Polaris Bank, N11.7bn.

The report also stated that First City Monument Bank repaid the sum of N11.6bn; Ecobank, N6.4bn; Guaranty Trust Bank, N24.4bn; defunct Diamond Bank, N4.2bn; and Heritage Bank, N2.4bn.

Others are Citibank, N3bn; Keystone Bank, N8.5bn; Wema Bank, N1.3bn; and Sun Trust Bank, N300m.

The report read in part, “At end-December 2019, the total amount released since the inception by the CBN under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme to the participating banks for disbursement amounted to N622.99bn for 600 projects.

“The total amount repaid since the inception stood at N387.27bn at end December 2019.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria said it had created over 1.13 million jobs along the various agricultural value chains.

It said through its various interventions in the sector capacity utilisation of agro-allied companies had also been increased.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said the jobs were created through the bank’s Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme that commenced in 2009 to fast-track the development of the agricultural sector.

The scheme, he said, provided credit facilities to commercial agricultural enterprises at a single-digit interest rate.

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