According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the nation’s spending on commodities: rice, wheat, fish and sugar reached N1.3 trillion in the last one year.
Edward Lametek, the apex bank’s Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, made the revelation on Tuesday at an in Owerri, Imo State. During his speech titled, “Galvanising Development Finance and Monetary Policy for Growth,” Lametek reaffirmed CBN’s support for local production of the commodities also declaring that efforts were being made to reduce the nation’s import bill
The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), according to him, was established to foster partnership between smallholder farmers and dependable large-scale agro-processors. He said the ABP aimed to increase agricultural output and facilitating farmers’ access to credit at the same time.
“Our targeted focus on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors was driven by the vast opportunities for growth in these sectors given our high population.
“These sectors have the ability to absorb the growing pool of eligible workers in our effort to meet local demand and save critical foreign reserves. For many countries, the objectives of monetary policy are explicitly stated in the laws establishing the Central Bank, while for others, they are not. The objectives of monetary policy may vary from country to country,” Mr Lametek noted.
He asserted that agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Infrastructure development were crucial to the bank’s model for promoting economic development.
He said “You are no doubt aware that the Central Bank of Nigeria has transcended its core mandate of maintaining monetary, price and financial system stability, to undertake developmental initiatives with a view to spurring economic growth and job creation.”
Mr Lametek went further to say that these development finance initiatives had been instrumental in driving government’s economic diversification programme and advocated the diversification of Nigeria’s economic base.
In his words: “Given the foregoing, it is our conviction that focusing our developmental efforts on sectors with inherent potential for growth, employment and accretion to foreign reserves, would enhance the fortune of the Nigerian economy.
“The CBN increased its lending to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, through targeted intervention schemes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support Facility.”
The apex bank’s policy, Lametek mentioned, had enabled the country to cut down considerably on its annual import bill while scaling up its non-oil exports:
“Our development finance interventions have helped to bolster agricultural production by removing obstacles faced by small holder farmers. We have also improved access to markets for farmers by facilitating greater partnership with agro-processors and industrial firms in the sourcing of raw materials. So far, the programme has supported more than 1.5m farmers across all the 36 states of Nigeria, in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.4 million hectares of farmland. It has also supported the creation of over 2.5m jobs across the agricultural value chain.”