Tinubu Orders Security Agencies To Recover N577 Billion Anchor Borrowers’ Loan
President Bola Tinubu has given marching orders to security agencies to immediately recover over N577 billion disbursed to farmers as loans under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), THE WHISTLER has learnt.
The ABP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.
It was designed to provide farm inputs (in kind and cash) to SHFs to boost production of the key commodities, stabilise input supply to agro-processors and address Nigeria’s negative balance of payments on food.
Agricultural commodities covered under the Programme include cereals (Rice, Maize, wheat etc.), Cotton, Sugarcane, Soyabean, Oil palm, Cocoa and livestock among others.
According to data from the CBN, over N1.1 trillion had been disbursed as loans to states, farmers associations, individuals and companies under the programme as of March this year.
About 4.6 million smallholder farmers cultivating or rearing 21 agricultural commodities have benefitted from the programme so far.
The funds were disbursed through eligible Participating Financial Institutions(PFIs) including deposit money banks and microfinance banks.
According to the CBN guidelines, the tenor of the loans was based on the gestation period of the targeted commodities.
While many of the beneficiaries had reportedly paid back their loans, a total of about N577 billion is said to be outstanding.
A senior presidency source told THE WHISTLER that the president has given security agencies up till September 18 to recover the outstanding loan repayment.
Some banks which reportedly failed to fully disburse the loans to beneficiaries and refused to return the balance to the CBN are also targeted for the recovery effort.
Among other defaulters are states, companies, individuals and various farmers’ associations.
“I can confirm to you that the presidency has ordered security agencies to go after those who have refused to repay the loans received through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme,” said the source who added that a September 18 deadline was given for the loan recovery.
It is unclear which of the security agencies will be involved in the loan recovery effort, but there are reasons to believe the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Police Force could be involved.
The DSS has been at the centre of the ongoing investigation of the CBN under Godwin Emefiele, the suspended governor of the bank.
Peter Afunanya, spokesperson of the DSS, did not confirm the development but said, “It is not out of place for security agencies to be tasked with activities of this nature.”