An Abuja-based independent think tank, Xola Collective, has said the wheat programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), may save Nigeria up to $2bn in foreign exchange this year.
In a statement in Abuja today, the group said the it is excited by the incredibly successful story of how the CBN, under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and with the full stop of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, had changed the narrative of Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.
Earlier in 2021, the CBN flagged-off the first ever rain-fed wheat programme in the country, seeking to slash the importation of the food commodity by 60 per cent as well as save $2 billion annually in foreign exchange. According to the CBN, the programme will benefit over 150,000 farmers and would be implemented in 15 states of the federation for a start.
The CBN has also set aside over N5.7 billion loan to 10,000 farmers to encourage dry season wheat farming in Bauchi State with 4,500 farmers benefited so far in the state.
Between September and October 2021, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the bank disbursed N43.19 billion to support the cultivation of 250,000 hectares of maize, sogum, soyabeans and rice during the 2021 dry season farming and N5.88 billion to finance six large scale agricultural project under the commercial agricultural agri-business scheme.
Between September and October 2021, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the bank disbursed N43.19 billion to support the cultivation of over 250,000 hectares of maize, sorghum, soya beans and rice during the 2021 dry season; and N5.88 billion to finance six large scale agricultural projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS).
As a way of tackling the problem of growing youth unemployment in Nigeria, the CBN recently launched the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES) in Abuja.
The apex bank also presented cheques of N5 million each to six pioneer beneficiaries of the scheme to help boost their businesses, create employment and contribute to economic growth.
The bank said the scheme was designed to create a paradigm shift among students and graduates of tertiary institutions in Nigeria from white-collar jobs towards entrepreneurship development.
The CBN, according to Xola Collective, is set to offer special funding and other strategic support to about 400 selected strategic manufacturing enterprises across the country in the next one year with effect from today, under a new real sector intervention scheme.
The bank disbursed the sum of N261.92 billion for 42 additional projects under the N1 trillion manufacturing intervention. Cumulatively, the bank has disbursed the sum of N1.08 trillion under this scheme. As part of its effort to support the resilience of the healthcare sector, the bank disbursed N5.39 billion to nine healthcare projects under the Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF). Cumulatively, the bank disbursed the sum of N108.65 billion to hospitals and pharmaceutical industry. 54 of the 117 projects funded were for hospital services. Had CBN remained aloof and mute in the trying times of last year and 2021, the economy would have collapsed under the weight of COVID-19 devastation.
Through the Economic Sustainability Plan, the CBN working with the Fiscal authorities injected N3.5trn to support households in Nigeria, to navigate the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. This was 4.1% of the nation’s GDP and focused on Agric, Manufacturing and Healthcare amongst others.
The belief of stakeholders is that the apex bank’s 37 purpose-driven intervention programmes introduced will continue to boost the nation’s economy.
For CBN, efforts to sustain economic growth are unending. The bank said it will sustain its intervention policy in critical sectors in 2022.
The former president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Ibrahim Kabir, said, ‘‘The CBN’s intervention has surely helped the food system and without it, the situation would have been more uncomfortable.”
Aldo, the Kebbi State chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Sahabi Augie, said, “Definitely, the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, coupled with denial of forex to food importers, was the wisest decision taken to boost domestic food production and at the same time create market for home-grown food items.”
Xola Collective called on Nigerians to continue to support the efforts of the CBN and the Buhari administration in the new year.