There are indications that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, championed economic diversification efforts may have gained private sector lead and already on self sustaining range as the intervention funds beneficiaries begin to repay the loans.Before now the practice has been for public sector loan beneficiaries to go away with the loans as national cake and most likely diverted same to uses other than the initial purpose, a situation which have made laudable programmes of the government to go moribund. CBN CBN Gov Godwin EmefieleAmong the major repayments was in respect of the Anchor Borrowers Program, ABP, with the North East Commodity Association (NECAS) repaying about N1.5 billion. Several other repayments have happened before and after the NECAS in the first half of this year alone, a development which economy watchers and analysts believe is a mark of success for the CBN’s economic diversification programme through the interventionist lending policy. They believe that with the programme gaining traction in the private sector it has entered a self-sustenance threshold.The apex bank has so far cumulatively disbursed N174. 48 billion through 19 financial institutions under its ABP since 2015.The programme has supported 902, 518 farmers working with 194 anchor companies. Moreover, the scheme has so far created 2.8 million and 8.4 million direct and indirect jobs respectively.Anchor borrowers’ programme as bragging right(Opens in a new browser tab)Earlier in June this year while appraising all the economic diversification actions of the CBN, the Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the programme also enabled agro-processors and manufacturers to source their inputs from local sources, rather than relying on the importation of these items in the face of pressures on the nation’s foreign exchange resources.Consequently, the apex bank has rolled out a new policy to end reliance of the nation’s dairy industry on foreign inputs, just as it assured that the apex bank was ready to provide loans for those who want to go into cattle business.He had warned that Nigeria could no longer continue to spend between $1.2-$1.5 billion on milk importation, annually.“That is a very high import product into the country, given that it’s a product that we are convinced can be produced in the country. Cows produce little milk due to roaming.“Let’s ask ourselves the question: What really does it take to produce milk? Get the cow and give the cow plenty of water to drink and let the cow eat a lot of grass and the cow positioned in a place without roaming about, that cow gets fat and you can take milk out of it.“We called in the management of the oldest milk company in Nigeria to Central Bank office in Lagos. We held at least three meetings with them. We told them that we were trying to use the opportunity to appeal to them to do backward integration. Integrate backward and begin the process of development and production of milk in Nigeria.“Unfortunately, after three years, nothing has happened. Three weeks ago, we had another meeting, where we said we need to take stock of what you guys are doing because we can no longer continue to spend close to $1.2 to $1.5 billion importing milk to the country, a product we can produce.“To some extent, they should help us also to reduce the rate of herder/ farmer conflict. Perhaps, if they had started this journey three years ago with us, the herders/ farmers conflict that we see today would not have been as intense as it is this time. Our policies must be respected.”This shows that contrary to the allegation that it was backing the proposed RUGA project, the apex bank had started the push for domestication of the nation’s dairy industry with the support to pastoralists over three years before the RUGA controversy.It is believed that the RUGA initiative, if well implemented, would complement CBN’s initiative on the domestication of the dairy industry, especially as regards ranching of pastoralists for effective milk production, while eliminating saving farmlands and agriculture sector from the nomadic herdsmen.
CBN’s economic diversification gains traction with private sector
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