FG disburses N300bn to farmers as 8m individuals benefit from cash transfer

Abuja, Sept. 14, 2021, The Federal Government says N300 billion has been disbursed to farmers while 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households, comprising more than 8 million individuals are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.


President Muhammadu Buhari announced this while virtually declaring open the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.


He said one of the various initiatives embarked on to boost agricultural trade in Nigeria was the Anchor Borrowers Programme.


He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had made more than N300billion available to over 3.1 million small holder farmers of 21 different commodities.


He said the commodities included Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soya beans, Groundnut and Fish, cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.


He noted that over 80 per cent of rice consumed in the country was currently produced locally.


The president said that the National Social Register of poor and vulnerable Nigerians had identified 32.6 million persons from seven million poor and vulnerable households, adding that bankers should play a stronger role in improving livelihoods.


“From this number, 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households, comprising more than eight million individuals are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, which pays a bi-monthly stipend of N10,000 per household,” he said.


Buhari said that the National Social Investment Programme was the biggest in Sub-Saharan African and one of the largest in the world.


He said he approved the establishment of InfraCo Plc in 2020, a world-class infrastructure development vehicle which focuses on Nigeria.


He said the company, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion to further strengthen recovery and enable more Nigerians, was being managed by an independent infrastructure Fund Manager.


“The Solar Power Naija project was launched in April 2021 with the aim of delivering 5 million off-grid solar connections to Nigerian households.


“In May 2021, the Rural Electrification Agency announced the planned deployment of solar-powered grids to 200 Primary Health Centres and 104 Unity Schools nationwide.


“Under the Family Homes Fund Limited Social Housing programme, incorporated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, more than two thousand hectares of land with title documents have been issued by 24 States with the capacity to accommodate about 65,000 new homes.


“The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing a N200billion financing facility, with a guarantee by the Federal Government,” the president said.


He said the theme of the conference, “Economic Recovery, Inclusion, and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance” was most appropriate, following the global shocks from COVID-19.


“I salute the Institute and the entire banking and finance industry for the commitment towards charting a practical path for economic recovery and transformation of our country, Nigeria, and by extension Africa as epitomised by the theme of your conference.


“I commend the financial services industry for its interventions and contributions towards the promotion of financial inclusion and literacy in our country.


“More importantly, the roles played by the banks in fostering economic growth of the country,” he said.


President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda in his goodwill message said exploring new technology in the banking sector, with more focus on innovation, would enhance financial inclusion.


“The banking sector can lead the way in integration; banking is about trust,” Kagame said.


The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the regulatory body had been working with the Bankers’ Committee to scale the challenges posed by COVID-19.


This, he said included reduction of interest rates on loans, increasing the moratorium for payments and injecting N3 trillion loans in the private sector.


“We do expect that the pace of inflation will moderate as we approach the harvest season,” he said.


The CBN Governor expressed optimism that banks would remain strong, resilient and healthy, saying that the N15 trillion infrastructure fund will be inaugurated in October 2021.


According to Emefiele, innovations like the Nigeria and International Finance will provide a gateway for capital and investments and enhance inclusion. (https://newsatlarge.ng)

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