FG Disburses N300bn To Farmers
President Muhammadu Buhari says N300 billion has been disbursed to farmers while 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.
The president revealed this while virtually declaring open the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
He stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria had made more than N300 billion available to over 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities.
He said the commodities included Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soybeans, Groundnut, Fish, cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.
“It is on record that 80% of rice consumed in Nigeria is now produced locally,’’ he said.
He added that the National Social Register of poor and vulnerable Nigerians had 32.6 million persons from seven million poor and vulnerable households identified, imploring bankers to play a stronger role in improving livelihoods.
“From this number, 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households, comprising more than eight million individuals are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer program, which pays a bi-monthly stipend of N10, 000 per household,’’ he said.
President Buhari said the National Social Investment Programme was biggest in Sub-Sahara Africa and one of the largest in the world.
To further strengthen recovery and enable more Nigerians, President Buhari said, last year, he approved the establishment of InfraCo Plc, a world-class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion.
He said the company was being managed by an independent infrastructure Fund Manager.
“The Solar Power Naija project was launched in April 2021 with the aim of delivering five million off-grid solar connections to Nigerian households.
“In May 2021, the Rural Electrification Agency announced the planned deployment of solar-powered grids to 200 Primary Health Centres and 104 Unity Schools nationwide.
“Under the Family Homes Fund Limited, Social Housing programme incorporated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, more than two thousand hectares of land with title documents have been issued by 24 states with the capacity to accommodate about 65,000 new homes.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing a N200 Billion financing facility, with a guarantee by the Federal Government,’’ he said.
The president affirmed that the theme of the conference, “Economic Recovery, Inclusion, and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance’’ was most appropriate, following the global shocks from COVID-19.
“I salute the Institute and the entire banking and finance industry for the commitment towards charting a practical path for economic recovery and transformation of our country, Nigeria, and by extension Africa as epitomized by the theme of your conference.
“I commend the financial services industry for its interventions and contributions towards the promotion of financial inclusion and literacy in our country.
“And more importantly, the roles played by the banks in fostering economic growth of the country.
“I am confident that the speakers that have been carefully selected to contribute to the conference will share insights that will help individuals, businesses and governments at all levels make necessary adjustments and take the right steps towards our collective resolve to position Nigeria as one of the top economies in the world,’’ he added.
The president said a report from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product grew 5.01 per cent in the second quarter of 2021; the strongest rise since the fourth quarter of 2014.
“This is cheery news and an indication that the efforts of this administration at repositioning the economy is paying off,’’ he said.
He urged the bankers and financial institutions to leverage on the abundant business opportunities to grow the economy.
President Buhari implored financial institutions to play a stronger role in making sure the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises were fit for purpose, with support in the full implementation of the “Agreement”.
“Indeed financial intermediary could not be any more relevant than at a time like this.
“We need you, the banks to drive value creation by developing new technologies, scaling payment infrastructure to serve the diversified economies expected to benefit from this Agreement,’’ he noted.
He said technological innovation was also important in the modern business terrain, noting that most transactions now take place online given the advent of the “Internet of Things”.
The president stressed that as the nation continues to progress towards the next frontiers of digitization, it must harness all opportunities while being mindful of the inherent risks.
“For example, the protection of data is now of utmost importance to provide users with more secure access to the online space,’’ he said.