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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended its Anchor Borrowers Scheme (ABS) for increased rice production to include cassava, cotton and soya beans farmers in Cross River State.
Godwin Emefele CBN governor, made this known in Calabar while speaking at the CBN fair for farmers and members of the public on the theme: promoting Financial Stability and Economic Development in Nigeria, at the weekend.
According to the CBN governor, the scheme initiated by the bank to boost rice production in the country has achieved success leading to the ban on rice importation by the Federal Government.
Emefele, who was represented by the director corporate communications, Isaac Okoroafor, said N50 billion would be extended as loan to soya bean farmers, N9 billion to cassava farmers and N7 billion to cotton farmers in the country.
“Anchor Borrowers Scheme is loan to farmers without collateral and the benefitting famers are given farm inputs and cash to cultivate their farms, and with the experiment on rice which has achieved huge success it is time to extend the scheme to cotton, soya bean and cassava farmers,” he said.
The CBN governor stated that since he assumed office in 2012, he had initiated programmes tailored at helping the economy grow and bring the bank closer to the people to help them achieve financial stability and growth by taking advantage of its intervention schemes.
He said in the past Nigeria sold its oil and used the money to import consumable items, making it a consumer economy by importing such items as toothpicks, rice, eggs, palm oil, etc. But with the measures he introduced, the Federal Government has banned the importation of 41 items and this measure has greatly helped the economy grow.
‘The ABS, Small and Medium Enterprises scheme are meant for us to grow what we eat and efforts will continue to be made towards achieving self-sustainability, as a country greatly endowed,” he said.
He said loans to the tune of N10 million were being advanced to artisans, entrepreneurs and small business operators to assist them grow their outfits.
“The CBN has development finance intentions and the banks have provided the funds from their profits to give out as loans to small businesses without collateral. But the entire sum cannot be given to the beneficiary but part will be used in procuring the equipment while part will be given as working capital and payment period is spread across seven years,” he said.
He advised people against abusing the naira by writing or soiling it, hawking and printing counterfeit notes as those caught would be made to serve jail sentences.