Fraud, extortion trail agric loan processes

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Stakeholders are concerned that various schemes for lending to agriculture in the federal government have been dismissed by people for whom programs are not intended. They called on the government to intervene to save industry, according to DANIEL ESSIET.

It was a season of agrarian discontent, as various groups of farmers expressed concern that agricultural loans and schemes introduced by the federal government to support the industry are fired by people for whom they are not intended.

These include: the Nigerian exchange of risks through incentives for agricultural lending (NIRSAL), the Agricultural Credit Facility (CACS) scheme, the Agricultural Credit Insurance Scheme (ACGSF) scheme, the Agricultural Credit Support Scheme (ACSS), the Multi- Multi-CAFS) and others. These were dirty stories from farmers all over the country.

Many applicants for the federal government offered agricultural loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria) (CBN) shouted about alleged fraud, extortion of farmers and a list of ghostly beneficiaries under the loan.

Although in some cases the guidelines were violated, in other cases, bank officials were accused of transferring funds intended for this scheme.

Speaking in Lagos, the former chairman, Agric Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Prince Wale Oyekoja said that the process of managing loans to farmers was recognized as erroneous. In some cases, he said that many of the applicants and cooperatives are phantom beneficiaries and political farmers who intend to use non-agricultural loans.

According to him, the investigation showed that the majority of the applicants were identified as having no visible farms, saying that loans were given to many unacceptable people, while those who have the right were deprived.

He added that many funds, including loans and grants, such as the CACS N200b scheme in 2007, $ 3 billion in USAID in January 2013, the World Bank's $ 300,000, had to make the country self-sufficient in food production, not in dependence on imports, adding that a large chunk of money was appropriated.

Oyekoya said: "Our commercial banks should be restructured and authorized to finance real farmers, not political farmers. No farmers can survive at the current commercial interest rate of 26 percent. The agricultural sector accounted for less than one percent of the portfolio of banks. "

He said that farmers are closing their farms because of inconsistent government policies, flips of politics, lack of funds, high cost of feed materials and poor infrastructure.

"The government has for years formulated good agricultural and financial policies aimed at encouraging food production, but such policies have been found to be ineffective and ineffective, as the intended results have not been realized," Oyekoia said.

According to him, seasonality of income is one of the defining characteristics of agriculture.

He said: "Farmers face most of their costs at the beginning of the season. It is then that they buy seeds and fertilizers, hire field hands and prepare fields for cultivation. But they will not reap the fruits of their labor until the harvest, at least for several months. " He lamented that, despite the funds provided by the government, farmers still can not borrow from banks at the beginning of the season. "

Oyekoja said that, despite the fact that the Nigerian risk management system for agricultural lending (NIRSAL) and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) with good intentions, most farmers-farmers do not receive loans through them. According to him, most of the loans belong to commercial banks with high interest rates.

According to Oekoy, in general, although the government was trying to expand the capacity of farmers, its bureaucracy was a problem, and the interest rate on agricultural loans was very high.

According to him, the 9% interest rate received from CBN loans is too high for Nigerian farmers. If the government was serious, the rate should not be more than five percent, because if someone works in Nigeria, you need to generate electricity and other costs, he said.

He acknowledged that, indeed, the government has good intentions with regard to its various financing strategies, but the main task is the performance by government employees.

Oyekoja urged the government to correct the issue of later assistance to farmers.

According to him, many people are engaged in agriculture because of state policy. Although people believe so much in politics, as announced by the federal government, they still want them to conform to its monitoring and discipline.

He explained that some officials, especially deliberately upset the government's efforts for their selfish gains. To this end, he urged the government to establish a monitoring group that will interact with the real farmers, rather than with the farmers they usually encounter.

Some farmers accused NIRSAL, a branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), distorting the state program of agricultural lending under the Borrowers-Anchors program.

Farmers in the cooperative society, known as the "Concept of Hope" on the axis of Lagos Ogun, with their farms located in Ogun, accused NIRSAL that they postpone the cultivation of corn and rice, unnecessarily restraining the credit already issued by the top bank . Farmers sought financial assistance from CBN and the microfinance bank to support their corn-growing program in the second half of the year.

The group said it received initial support of N23 million from the microfinance bank in Lagos, as initial funding required by CBN for the loan. The group, having received this cash, was able to start cleaning the land, covering 1000 hectares, and then received from Neca banka funds in the amount of N342 million.

A source in CBN in Abuja and another in Ogun said that since July 19 the loan was transferred to NIRSAL, but to date NIRSAL uses delay tactics and did not provide farmers with desperately needed funds, knowing the consequences of planting corn and rice very late.

The credit council with the number MDC1820000099 / BNK confirmed the requirement that N246, 523,120 was issued by the top bank on July 19, 2018 as the first batch of the facility. NIRSAL, which is designed to disinfect bank lending for agricultural projects, went on board while in office as Lamido Sanusi as governor of the CBN. It was drafted by Sanusi and Mr. Akinvumi Adesina, president of AfDB, shortly before he was appointed Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria.

NIRSAL was transferred from the CBN and received excellent status and received a managing director. It was gathered that NIRSAL verified the claims of 1,000 farmers in the HOPE CONCEPT who applied for a fund from the CBN and disqualified 128 on the basis of violations of biometric inspections (BVN), which resulted in the approval of 872 farmers. CBN also completed its independent verification and was satisfied, and then the NIRSAL Fund was released for immediate transfer to farmers. To date, the NIRSAL operational office in Abeokuta is said to be still underfoot, as the head office in Abuja has not given a signal for the next step in transferring money to the appropriate account, which must be taken. In addition, members of the cooperative told reporters that other groups of cassava and rice farmers did not get their opportunities after a similar release of CBN.

Addressing to Nigeria Institute of Directors in Lagos, NIRSAL managing director, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhammed said that his organization is ready to support farmers and other players in the agricultural sector in order to improve food security.

According to him, for Nigeria, it is difficult to achieve food sufficiency, stimulate growth in agro-industries and produce millionaires if the loans are not provided to operators in the value chain of agricultural products.

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