By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated the interim board of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) in Abuja.
The bank was established to provide succour to farmers in the country especially in terms of funding support.
The board was inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, who tasked the company to come up with ways to make agriculture another major foreign exchange earner in Nigeria.
He charged the interim board of the bank to reduce the lending rates and recover loans. He also said the agriculture lending rate should be at a single digit.
Mr Ogbeh said, “One of the challenges we faced with Agric lending is the cost of fund, at 18-22% definitely no farmer will survive, so you have to design how to make the interest rate one digit.
“As at today your bank is not digitalised at all; I’m told you still use pass books; you have to find out how quickly we can help you digitalise, because we expect that in five years you will be the largest Bank in the country, the most wide spread, we want you to operate in all the local government.”
“You have some debts to recover, I don’t know the exact amount owed your bank but try and get the money back, you may feel free to inform those who owe you that in the next 90 days, you expect them to start paying back.
“Feel free to take adverts and do all the publicity you want, informing your creditors that they will have to pay and they should start doing so as quickly as possible,” he added.
The new Interim Managing Director of BoA, Mr Kabiru Mohammed, in his response, disclosed that, “There is need to diversify the economy by improving the agriculture sector in food production, food security and the rest, we assure you that we will support the Ministry’s Agric transformation agenda, we want to also assure you that we are committed to serving our father’s land.”
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