Reps Set To Probe N2tn Anchor Borrowers Scheme

Reps Set To Probe N2tn Anchor Borrowers Scheme

The House of Representatives on Tuesday pledged its readiness to investigate allegations of the misappropriation of over N2 trillion disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria through its Anchor Borrowers Scheme to fund agricultural initiatives across the country.

The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the ‘Alleged mismanagement of government’s agricultural initiatives and funding by Departments, Agencies, and Government programmes outside the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’, sponsored by Mr Chike Okafor.

Leading the debate on the floor of the House during Tuesday’s plenary session, Okafor who represents Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency, Imo State expressed worry over the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria and the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds meant for the development of the sector.

He said, “The House notes that the Federal Government, through various schemes and interventions in the last eight years have spent over N2tn in funding agricultural interventions with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians, but due to the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programs, Nigeria is still experiencing food scarcity and malnutrition.

“The House is aware of the reports and allegations of abuse, mismanagement, and misapplication of government intervention funds earmarked for agricultural development and food security initiatives in Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria, through the Anchor Borrowers Program disbursed about N1.12 trillion to 4.67 million farmers involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

“The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending disbursed N215.067bn to facilitate agriculture and agrobusinesses.

“The Bank of Industry disbursed N3bn to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing Programme. Additionally, the bank funded 49 agro and food processing businesses with N59.4 bn in loans.”

The lawmaker further noted that in 2023, “The Federal Government of Nigeria unveiled a N5bn loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture for livestock farmers across the country.

“The National Agricultural Development Fund in March of 2024 inaugurated a NI.6bn Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions.

“The House is also aware that funds advanced to end users of the Federal Government interventions were allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes, hence the current acute scarcity of food.

“We are worried that the agricultural sector plays a crucial role in ensuring food security, improving nutrition, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians, and any abuse of the programs and schemes of government drastically affects millions of innocent citizens.

“The House is cognizant of the need to investigate government agricultural interventions and funding allocated to departments, agencies, schemes and programmes outside the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective resource utilisation.”

Consequently, the House mandated the joint Committees on Nutrition and Food Security and Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged misuse of Government interventions and agricultural funding by Departments, Agencies, Schemes and Programmes of the Federal Government outside the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and report within four weeks for further legislative actions.




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