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Cross River farmers’ delay to repay anchor borrowers’ loan worries CBN

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Delay by rice formers in Cross River State to repay their anchor borrowers loan is causing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) some concern.

Although some farmers denied benefiting from the loan, alleging that politicians hijacked it, state controller of CBN, Chuks Sokari, stressed that delay in repaying the facility would make it difficult for other rice farmers to benefit from the programme.

He stated this during the commencement of the wet season rice farming by Governor Ben Ayade at weekend.

While appealing to the beneficiaries to repay the loans, Sokari said: “My colleagues from banks, NEXIM and President of RFAN have stressed the need for those who benefited from the intervention programme to repay their loans to pay back. This is very important.

“It is not an endless thing, so the CBN needs you to reciprocate by repaying a maximum of nine per cent single digit interest on every loan and so we expect to reach out to the others who have not benefited and they are so many and we want to bring them on board.

“You also remember that CBN is very much involved in financial inclusion, so, the small farmer who is out there who benefits from this kind of activity has been included and with him or her the retinue of dependents.”

The CBN’s policy of exempting 41 items from import list introduced by Governor of the bank, Godwin Emefiele in 2014 was yielding good results, especially for rice.

“Today it is a celebration of excellence when it comes to discussing our import reduction of commodities like rice.

“If you want to reduce imports and sustain stable foreign exchange for a reasonable length of time, increase output and earn respect in the committee of nations, as a country that produces what it consumes, it is through this programme,” he added.

But speaking on behalf of other farmers, who could not benefit even after they were enrolled, Godshield Kanjal, said he was given inputs and promised the loan, but he never benefited from the facility.

“I supposed to be among the beneficiaries, because I got inputs to prepare for the rice farming proper but unfortunately, I could not access the loan. I think some politicians hijacked the programme, because the real rice farmers did not benefit from the loan,” he added.

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