BOA under fire over failure to recover N81b

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Following the inability of the Bank of Agriculture, Kaduna, to recover the N81 billion loan, the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture has summoned the management of the bank.

The N81 billion loan was disbursed to farmers under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

The Committee gave the order on when it paid an oversight visit to the headquarters of the bank in Kaduna.

Chairman of the Committee, Muntari Dandutse, who led other members, directed the bank management to submit all relevant documents related to the anchor borrowers programme to it for scrutiny.

Dandutse said the documents should include the total amount disbursed to farmers and the number of farmers that benefited from the loans.

He said the bank should also submit its audited accounts and the amount it recovered from the farmers.

The committee, according to him, would need to have access to the bank’s list of beneficiaries and defaulters, and advice on measures to be taken to recover the loans.

Members of the committee had during the visit expressed concern that beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrower Programme had complained to the committee on bank’s alleged poor handling of the ABP funds.

The committee said it received over 30 petitions from farmers against the bank of its inability to properly manage the CBN funds released for the programme.

Dandutse, however, said the committee in particular and the National Assembly was determined to engage stakeholders including CBN on measures to recover outstanding loans from the N81 billion said to have been disbursed.

“N81 billion can change the lives of Nigerian farmers in different value chains, so we cannot allow it go unrecovered, as this government is determined to ensure probity and transparency in all conducts.

“The bank should appear before it along with all its documents of debtors, as well as those who have applied for loans and did not get,” he said.

Zainab Gimba, representing Bama/Ngala/Kalabalge federal constituency of Borno State, had raised concern that farmers from the North-East were not happy with the manner the bank handled the anchor borrowers’ funds.

Gimba listed commercial farmers including “Dili Daru Farms, Gorea Farms, Shiltam Farms and Mohammed Dogo among those who expressed concern with the way the bank handled the funds.

She said the farmers had complained to her office and the Committee that they were finding it difficult to access loans under ABP from the Agriculture bank.

Gimba said BOA had slowed the federal government’s efforts towards resettling the people of North-East affected by insurgency, through Agriculture.

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