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Reps probe N91.873bn Anchor Borrowers loan

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday commenced an investigation into the N91.873 billion Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) loan disbursed by the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) to some Nigerians between November 2015 and October 31st, 2021.

Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Production and Services, Hon. Mutari Dandutse who presided over the investigative hearing demanded detailed reports on the identity of beneficiaries of the facility with a view to ensuring accountability of taxpayers’ funds.

According to the report submitted to the Committee, from the total sum of N91,872,687,050.23 disbursed for all the models of the programmes, the sum of N14.678 billion was repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N77.180 billion (Principal) as of October 2021.

Breakdown of the loan showed that out of a total sum of N11.358 billion disbursed under Private Anchor, the sum of N2.150 billion has so far been repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N9.208 billion.

From the sum of N21.098 billion disbursed under the Prime Anchor Programme, the sum of N2.819 billion has so far been repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N18.264 billion.

Out of the sum of N24.317 billion disbursed to unnamed beneficiaries, the sum of N4.978 billion has so far been repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N19.338 billion.

From the loan disbursed through the Commodity Associations, out of a total sum of N18.492 billion disbursed to RIFAN, the sum of N930.493 million has so far been repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N17.553 billion.

Out of the sum of N7.814 billion disbursed to MAAN, the sum of N1.634 billion has so far been repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N6.179 billion.

Also from the total sum of N91.795 billion disbursed to NECAS, the sum of N2.157 billion has so far been repaid leaving an outstanding balance of N6.638 billion.

In his presentation, Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Mr Alwan Hassan affirmed that the scheme was fraught with serious challenges.

According to him, the loans under the programme are administered at the interest rate of 9%. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reduced the rates from 9% to 5% per annum with effect from March 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

“The commodity Associations were allowed to migrate freely between PFIs without settling prior indebtedness. The bank raised observations that such actions will affect recovery commitment.

“Insurance was not properly managed. In some cases, a premium was paid late and in some cases unpaid.

“Farmer’s inability to concentrate on their farms due to insecurity. Specifically, this includes herdsmen attacks, armed robbery and kidnapping.

“Natural disasters: There have been cases of farm loss due to flooding, early cessation of rain and drought.

“Nonchalance to debt services by beneficiaries both anchors and farmers who did not intend to pay back the loans right from the beginning.”

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