Reps Probe CBN’s N1.12tr Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Agric Loans

Chairman, Committee on Nutrition and Food Security of the House of Representatives, Rep Chike Okafor

By Kemi Yesufu

The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to investigate the alleged misuse of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding by the Central Bank, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the “Alleged Mismanagement of Government Agricultural Initiatives and Funding by Departments, Agencies and Government Programmes Outside the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security”, sponsored by Rep. Chike Okafor, the member representing Ehime Mbano/ Ihitte Uboma/ Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State.

Specifically, the Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The Committees are also to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The Committees given four weeks to report back to the House will equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed ₦3 billion Naira to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value chain financing (AVCF) Programme.

Finally, the Committee will investigate the handling of the 5 Billion Naira loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country and the management of the National Agricultural Development ₦1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT) for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions.

Leading the debate on the motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said although the Federal Government has expended two trillion Naira in eight years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight (8) year with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians, the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programs has left Nigeria is with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

He said: “As the House should be aware there have been reports and allegations of abuse, mismanagement, and misapplication of government intervention funds earmarked for agricultural development and food security initiative in Nigeria.

“Funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions have also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes, hence the current acute scarcity of food”.

Okafor called for an investigation into the disbursement of funds meant for the agricultural sector as it plays a crucial role in ensuring food security, improving nutrition, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

“Any abuse of the programmes and schemes of Government drastically affects millions of innocent citizens”, he stressed.

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