… As FG insists on halting importation of rice by 2015
By STEVE AGBOTA
A report from FBN Capital has indicated that agriculture’s share of allocation was 3.7 per cent in October 2012 under Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), compared with 1.5 per cent three years earlier. According to FBN Capital, the increase can be attributed to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) windows refusal to guarantee Deposit Money Bank (DMB) loans to the sector, such as the N200 billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme.
The report added: “It would continue once the N600 billion Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) is disbursed. Loans to Small-Scale Enterprises (SSEs) represents just 0.2 per cent of the total N8.0 trillion. There are flaws in the gathering and collation of the data, since 22.8 per cent of the total by value is unclassified. There is a gap in the banking industry between the DMBs and the microfinance institutions, which are separately regulated by the CBN.
Were this gap to be filled, the sectoral credit allocation could be less skewed.” According to FBN Capital: “The main sectoral destination of lending by deposit money banks (DMBs) remains mining and quarrying, which includes oil and gas in the data series cited in the CBN’s Quarterly Statistical Bulletin, September 2012. Within the banking space there are more differences in risk appetite than in lending skills. One bank may lend further down the credit curve in a particular sector but the banks as a group favour the same sectors in the formal economy.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Agricultural and Rural Development, Dr. Bukar Tijani, has informed Nigerians that the Federal Government would halt importation of rice by 2015 in the country. Speaking at the flagging off the distribution of Paddy Rice to farmers in Lokoja, Kogi State, the minister said that the feat would be achieved with the all-year-round production of rice in the country. However, he commended the Kogi State government for its commitment towards the rice value-chain in the transformation agenda of the Federal Government, adding that Kogi State had comparative advantage in rice production.
The minister hinted that Kogi was among the 10 states listed for the programme aimed at increasing rice production in the country, pointing out that the state was also part of the states that would benefit from the flood recovery scheme and dry season farming programme of the Federal Government as well as receive rice mills to add to its value chain in rice production.
He also said that each farmer would get three bags of paddy rice and a bag of fertilizer free of charge from the Federal Government in a bid to boost production of the commodity.