It has been revealed that the Bankers Committee in a bid to help improve agriculture, will lend more to farmers come 2016. The Committee comprises top management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and chief executives of banks in the country. CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele while addressing journalists at the end of the 7th annual retreat of the Committee in Lagos, said:
"Banks generally agreed to increase lending to the agricultural sector, but the committee feels that there is the need to de-risk the agricultural value chain. The bankers' committee also feels that the monetary and fiscal authorities need to work together in a collaborative manner to achieve the objective of improving local production of specific agricultural products, so that as a result of lending to this sector, we can begin to see a reduction in the demand for foreign exchange that would help to conserve our foreign exchange reserves and strengthen our currency."
"Banks feel that there is a need to improve the level of infrastructure in various sectors. For instance, build more Fadama roads, build more silos and warehouses to receive final produce, so that products don't get destroyed at the farm. We should have Fadama roads which makes it easier for goods to be transported from the local communities to areas where they could be sold to increase the wealth of those in our local communities. Banks therefore set a target to boost agricultural lending not only to the small and medium enterprises, but also to large scale farming and companies to up to N300 billion in 2016."
Other people present at the retreat include: the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Ministers of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola; Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Solid Minerals, Mr. Kayode Fayemi; Finance, Kemi Adeosun, as well as practitioners in Agriculture, Power and Small business sectors.
By Chika Jones