OrderPaperToday – Acting Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture (BoA), Mr. Alwan Hassan, has disclosed that over N77.2 billion worth of government loans under the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) loan was yet to be repaid as at October 2021.

Hassan made this known at a public hearing organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Production and Services on Wednesday.

He explained that out of the total sum of N91,872,687,050.23 that was released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to farmers as loans, only a total of N14,678,423,065.03 has been repaid.

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He said that nonchalance to debt service by beneficiaries, both anchors and farmers who did not intend to pay back the loans right from the beginning was a threat.

In his submission he revealed, “since the commencement of the ABP in Nov 2015, a sum of N91.872,687,050.23 has been disbursed as at October. The ABP had also created direct jobs of 424, 820 and indirect jobs of 2.124,100 to farm families. It is pertinent to let you all know that the implementation of the scheme was marred with serious challenges by the bank”.

He also said part of the challenges of the scheme was that the commodities association was allowed to migrate freely without settling prior indebtedness and that the BoA had raised observation that such practice would affect recoveries.

He further pointed that the insurance on the scheme was not properly managed, adding that in some cases premium was paid late and in some cases unpaid.

He also identified farmers’ inability to concentrate on their farms due to insecurity, which according to him, includes herdsmen attack, armed robbery and kidnapping.

He said that natural disasters with cases of farm loss due to flooding, early cessation of rain and drought posed serious challenge to the anchor borrower scheme as well.

However, Mr. Lawal Idirisu (APC-Kogi), a member of the committee, challenged the BoA MD to name the debtors, adding that the document being presented would not be complete without their names.

“This document is grossly incomplete; we need details of those who have collected this money. Let us step down the hearing until all relevant documents are brought before the committee,” he said.

On his part, Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Muntari Dandutse, said that the public hearing was sequel to a motion to investigate the funds disbursed for the ABP.

He stated that the move was for the benefit of the people, adding that it was timely and the committee would come up with a reasonable recommendation.

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