The Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Mr. Kabiru Mohammed, has said that the amount of money farmers owe the bank has reached over N60 billion.
Speaking at a meeting with soya beans farmers organised by the Soya Beans Farmers Association of Nigeria (SBFAN) in Abuja, he lamented that the loan repayment had been very poor among many farmers.
He said it got to a point where the bank had to seek the intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the recovery process.
“The major challenge that the bank faces in agric finance is the issue of recovery. People still have this mental block that the funds are government funds and they can take them and go away without repayment. I think it is a very wrong notion. There is need from the onset, for us to know that the government has brought out this programme to support the farmers so that they can be agric entrepreneurs to be able to generate money and, therefore, the expectation of the government is that whatever that is disbursed is returned.
We have over N60bn outside there that people have refused to oblige by repayment…and we are collaborating with the EFCC to recover. We have been able through the EFCC recover so much. In the last quarter, we recovered over N300m through the collaborative effort between the bank and the EFCC and we will continue to do that,” he stressed.
The MD said the bank was also encouraging its staff by giving them incentives to go after the farmers they gave loans to to recover them.
“For those that are still owing and refusing to pay, we have appointed recovery agents across the country and they are working through moral suasion and negotiations so that we can grant waivers to them to be able to recover our money.
“I think it is important to tell farmers that these monies are supposed to be repaid- they are loans and we should not allow ourselves to get to the level of embarrassment,’’ he said.
Source: Daily Trust