The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed loans worth over N466.56 billion to 782 agricultural projects in the country from 2009 till date
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, at the International Conference on Environment Dialogue 1, organised by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW), with the theme, “Diversification of The Economy: The Role of Jatropha.”
Giving a breakdown of the interventions, Emefiele stated that the bank disbursed N366.39 billion to 465 projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) from 2009 till 2016, adding that about N81.13 billion was also disbursed to 315 projects under the Micro Small and medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) from 2013 till date.
“The sum of N15.8 billion has been disbursed as at June 2016 under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), which is a CBN policy initiative aimed at reduction of agricultural imports, diversification of the economy and creation of jobs while a total of N4.6 billion has also been disbursed to two projects under the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) from 2014 till 2016,” he stated.
Emefiele enjoined producers, processors and other significant players in the Jatropha value chain to key into the development finance interventions, pointing out that the banking industry is developing a roadmap to increase lending and investment in renewable energy as well as energy efficiency in line with global momentum on climate finance.
The governor who was represented by the former director, Centre for Women Development, Dr Aisha Mahmood, further revealed that producers willing to export the primary and by-products of Jatropha could access the recently launched Export Simulation Facility (ESF) which is jointly managed with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).
The apex bank chief said since the loans are issued at single digit interest rates and accessed through participating financial institutions as contained in the relevant guidelines, they must be repaid when due to ensure their sustainability.
Also speaking, the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, described Jatropha as a wonder plant which is morally and politically convenient to grow on marginal dry agricultural land, adding that it can be used as organic fertiliser.
Shettima who was also the conference chairman, said though Jatropha plants that were cultivated in the state many years ago were destroyed by insurgents, the state would flag-off the planting of one million cash trees by the end of this month.
On her part, the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, noted that the signing of the climate change agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari at the just concluded 71st UN General Assembly on climate change was historic
She expressed optimism that Nigeria would ratify the agreement in Morocco this year.
The minister lamented that constant blowing up of pipelines by militants was affecting the economy and livelihood of Niger Delta youths, stressing that Nigeria has huge environmental and social challenges.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also pointed that multiple and cross-sectoral benefits of Jatropha in the environmental, energy, agricultural and economic sectors should be pursued by any government that is serious about the diversification of its economy.
Saraki who was represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Hon Oluremi Tinubu, said there is sufficient data to show that Nigeria can live in prosperity after oil, adding that the National Assembly is determined to make laws that would help in transiting into a cleaner and greener economy.
According to him, “Our agricultural potentials, solid mineral deposits, service industry and entertainment industry all show how diversification is already deepening the foundations of our economy and potentially shielding our economy from oil price shocks.”