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Business

FG set to provide interest-free loans and agricultural inputs to farmers

The FG has disclosed plans aimed at providing interest-free loans to farmers in the country.

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#EndSARS: Looted wheat in Jos poisonous, not for consumption – FMARD warns, FG set to provide interest-free loans and agricultural inputs to farmers, FG moves to reduce gender inequality in agriculture , Border closure doesn’t violate free trade agreement – Agric Minister, Sabo Nanono 

The Federal Government of Nigeria has revealed plans aimed at providing interest-free loans to farmers in the country. This was disclosed by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, who stated that his ministry would work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in providing the loans.

READ: Non-Performing loans in Nigerian Banks rise to N1.21 trillion in H1 2020

According to a report by PUNCH, the aforementioned plan was revealed by the Minister while receiving the 2020 Wet Agricultural Performance Survey on October 18, 2020. The Minister revealed that the survey had shown that effective input subsidization would accelerate productivity in the agricultural sector.

READ: FG launches application for N75 billion Youth Investment Fund at 5% interest, how to apply

Backstory

Nairametrics had earlier reported plans by CBN to provide interest-free loans to MSMEs affected by the pandemic, with about 1.1 million farmers set to benefit from this largesse.

READ: De facto Government: CBN explains why it will keep funding the economy

What they are saying

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Commenting on the latest development, Nanono said, “The ministry would support the farmers with agricultural inputs and zero-interest loans, through the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 and the recent flooding in Kebbi, Jigawa and Kano States.’’

He urged farmers to intensify efforts and focus on achieving more successes during the dry season farming in order to cushion the losses caused by the pandemic.

READ: Nigeria @ 60: The Banking Sector and the Nigerian economy 

Why it matters

The recent announcement is a step in the right direction as it will help boost output in the agricultural sector, ensure food security, boost farmers’ morale, and contribute immensely in boosting farmers’ income. In addition, this gesture can also go a long way in driving financial inclusion, especially in rural areas.

READ: Lai Mohammed reveals what FG is using loans for

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Chidi Emenike is a graduate of economics, a Young African Leadership Initiative Fellow and an Investment Foundations certificate holder. He worked as a graduate Teaching Assistant in the Federal College of Education Kano and is also a trained National Peer Group Educator on Financial Inclusion

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    Business

    CBN’s Emefiele vows to reject the continuous importation of maize in Nigeria

    The CBN has said that it will oppose all attempts to continue the importation of maize into the country.

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    Banks' stakeholders express 4 main concerns bothering the sector right now, CBN, MARKET UPDATE: CBN’s historic agriculture lending; Is it yielding the desired results? 

    The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it will oppose all attempts to continue the importation of maize into the country.

    This is geared towards encouraging local production as the apex bank believes that maize farmers in Nigeria have what it takes to close the maize demand gap of over 4.5 million metric tonnes in the country.

    This was made known by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele while speaking in Katsina on Thursday during the unveiling of the first maize pyramid and inauguration of the 2021 maize wet season farming under the CBN-Maize Association of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

    READ: Nigeria must eat what we produce, agriculture is the way out – Buhari

    Emefiele said, “With over 50,000 bags of maize available on this ground, and others aggregated across the country, maize farmers are sending a resounding message that we can grow enough maize to meet the country’s demand.’

    He explained that the maize unveiled at the ceremony would be sold to reputable feed processors adding that this would in turn impact positively on current poultry feed prices, as over 60% of maize produced in the country were used for producing poultry feed.

    Emefiele said that the apex bank was ready to provide support to the youths that are willing to engage in agriculture and encouraged them to embrace agriculture.

    READ: Nigeria secures $1.2 billion loan from Brazil for agriculture modernization

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    Speaking at the event, the Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari, said the state had suffered a setback in agriculture as over 60,000 hectares of farmlands were uncultivated due to insurgency, which hindered farmers from gaining access to their means of livelihood.

    On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, while unveiling the pyramids, reassured the farmers, processors and other value chain participants, of the support of government towards ensuring that they perform optimally.

    What you should know

    It can be recalled that in July 2020, the CBN included maize importation to its list of 41 items banned from assessing forex at the official market as it directed all banks/authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.

    The apex bank in its circular said that this measure is aimed at increasing local production of the commodity, stimulating a rapid economic recovery, safeguarding rural livelihoods and increasing jobs.

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    Business

    FG releases N29.1 billion advance for deployment of Covid-19 vaccines

    The FG has announced the release of N29.1 billion to the NPHCDA as an advance for the operational cost of deployment of the Covid-19 vaccines.

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    Power: Mambilla Power Project not prioritised by Ministry of Power for 2021 Budget - Finance Minister

    The Federal Government has announced the release of N29.1 billion to the National Primary Health Development Agency (NPHCDA) as an advance for the operational cost of deployment of the Covid-19 vaccines.

    This is as the government has expressed its commitment to procuring 29.588 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through the AVAT initiative, coordinated by AFREXIMBank,

    This disclosure was made by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed while speaking at ‘Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) General Assembly webinar on Friday.

    What the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning is saying

    Ahmed in her statement said, “Therefore, the supplementary budget for COVID-19 vaccines will cover the cost of additional vaccines over and above those provided by COVAX, as well as the full cost of operations and logistics for delivering the vaccines around the country.

    “Already, the sum of N29.1bn has been released from the Routine Immunization budgetary provision (Service Wide Vote) to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) as an advance for the operational cost of deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines. The N29.1bn represents about 52 percent of the amount required over 2021-22”, she said.

    Mrs Ahmed stated at the 18th General Assembly of CABRI that the World Bank has indicated willingness to provide needed facilities in support of the country’s Covid-19 vaccination plan.

    Considering key elements of Nigeria’s vaccine financing strategy, she said that the government is working on a supplementary budget to provide for the cost of vaccine procurement and delivery

    She said, “The Federal Ministry of Health plans to vaccinate 70 per cent of eligible (18 years and above) Nigerians over the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years.”

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    She noted that the nation has received commitments from COVAX for Covid-19 vaccines that could cover 43.1 million of the eligible population, as donations from some development partners.

    On the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the oil price crash on the Nigerian economy, she noted that prior to the pandemic, implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-20, prudent resource management and fiscal policy implementation had resulted in 11 consecutive quarters of GDP growth, with GDP growth rising from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019.

    Mrs Ahmed also noted that “the government had begun the process of moving our economy away from its primary dependence on oil for revenues and foreign exchange, and we’re making steady gains in addressing infrastructure and human capital challenges.”

     

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