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Nigeria’s rice farmers said on Wednesday that the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has helped meet the N1.2bn daily rice need in the country, cutting down substantially, the millions of dollars import bill on the economy.
Aminu Goronyo, National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) who spoke in Abuja on behalf of his colleagues said apart from the Anchor Borrower scheme, foreign exchange restriction on the importation of rice into the country also helped.
At a press meeting to debunk what he called false allegations by one Christopher Kajere who claimed that the association was owing its contractors/suppliers. Goronyo noted that since 2015, “no naira has been converted to dollars to import rice into the country.”
He said this proactive measure by the CBN has helped Nigeria in becoming self-sufficient in rice production and thus conserve foreign exchange.
Kajere, who claimed to be a RIFAN contractor had petitioned President Buhari that he was not paid after supplying inputs to the rice farmers under the ABP.
But Goronyo said this claim was false as the petitioner’s name could not even be found on RIFAN’s list of suppliers and service providers.
He explained that the CBN did not deal directly with RIFAN suppliers or service providers and as a result, had no business with the individual.
He further stated that the aggrieved petitioner was not found on the list of the 30 RIFAN suppliers and service providers after a thorough check.
Goronyo said that bedsides, RIFAN did not deal with individuals but corporate entities which get paid after meeting the terms of engagement for the supply of inputs or services.
“All information suggests that the petitioner is unhappy with the gains made with the Anchor Borrower Programme of the CBN, including creating jobs and cutting down huge imports,” he said, reacting to the Kajere’s petition to the President.
Goronyo said Kajere lacked the capacity to operate as a RIFAN supplier because he did not follow the proper channels of engagement expected of RIFAN suppliers and service providers. He also emphasised that RIFAN did not use contractors as the petitioner identified himself.
Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja