Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 8 March 2017 | 1,472 times
•Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbe.
Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, has said that there is no going back on the restructuring and repositioning of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to aide in diversifying Nigeria’s economy from over-dependence on oil.
He spoke on Wednesday in Kaduna at the launching of a Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening of the Bank of Agriculture Project. Ogbe said that President Muhammadu Buhari has since given the nod for the restructuring and repositioning of the bank.
The Minister, represented by Mr. Godwin Obinna Opara, an official of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “Restructuring, capitalising and repositioning of BOA is one of such programmes through which President Muhammadu Buhari has given
his approval judging that its remains a key instruments required for funding agricultural activities to help diversify economy away from this over reliance on oil.
“At no other time in history of Nigeria that government taken such interest and time to assess the operations of BOA with a view to exploring these potentials by promotion of agricultural practice through initiating and adopting appropriate financing measures needed.
“Our country currently needs a financing mechanism that will help small holder farmers, agro-prenurials and SMEs access credit facilities at affordable cost. (As a matter of fact, we’re looking at single digit interest rate, that’s what we believe in the Ministry).”
In his speech, Special Adviser to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor on Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, said that BoA is sick and needs restructuring.
Mr. Eluhaiwe, however, noted that BOA has all the resources to turn around its fortunes for the better. “Posterity,” he said, “will not forgive us if we fail to turn it around because the bank has all the resources in this world to be turned around for the good of Nigerian farmers.”
On his part, Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Vincent Akpotaire, said that BOA will be restructured to meet a model that will help it do business, particularly with rural populace that are into agricultural business.
Dr. Akpotaire said: “Specifically, policy and regulation of the BOA will undergo due restructuring, staff capacity, financial base, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of the bank will be restructured to meet international standard in agro-allied enterprises.”
He added: “I wonder why BOA will not succeed in Nigeria if others have succeeded somewhere else in the world; there must be check and balance in loan being giving out, BOA should not just be a conduit for giving out loan, it should also be a conduit to recovering the loan being giving out.”
In his remarks the Chief Country Programme Officer, AFDB, Mr. Andoh Mensah, said the ongoing economic downturn has financially weakened BOA in bridging the gap between rural and urban populace in terms of accessing agricultural loans.
Mr. Mensah pledged AFDB total working relationship with BOA, saying: “We remain committed to working with BOA.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Acting Managing Director, BOA, Mr. Babatunde Igun, admitted that the bank is financially weak, with other challenges militating against its
Performance, including improvement of staff skills to enhance their capacity.
He stressed the need for the bank to brace up for modern agricultural activities in order to cope with competition in order for it to deliver its core mandate to the people.