Increase Agric Sector Funding, FG Tells Bank Of Industry

 Increase Agric Sector Funding, FG Tells Bank Of Industry

bank of industryThe Federal Government on Wednesday called on the Bank of Industry to increase lending to the agriculture sector in order to reduce the level of unemployment in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, gave the charge during a meeting with the management team of BoI led by the bank’s Acting Managing Director,Mr Waheed Olagunju.
Ogbeh said with the attention of the current government fixed on diversifying the economy away from oil, there is need to boost productivity in the agriculture sector particularly in the area of agro-processing.
In order to increase the level of output of the sector, the minister said more funds should be made available by the bank to the youth.
He said currently, there is a lot of disenchantment in the country as a result of the huge level of unemployment, adding that the government would no longer tolerate the era where banks have apathy to agricultural lending.
He said, “I will like to request your bank to see what you can do to assist us in financing young people in agro processing business.
“We have been running a system in the commercial banking sector where the door was almost shut to beginners and I don’t want to go into details of how interest rate has remained high for 30 years between 1986 and now.
“Young people are finding it difficult to access loan. If we want young people to live and achieve their aspiration,we need to do what we can to shift the focus by creating a platform for them to access loan to become entrepreneurs.
“The degree of frustration and disenchantment among the youth is very high and it’s time we did something to make funding available for businesses.”
The minister said the government would put in place adequate mechanism as well as the needed support to ensure that the loans are repaid by borrowers.
To achieve this, he said the ministry is planning to build to build an agro-processing park for young people noting that this would assist in reducing some of their operating costs.
He said the park, to be modeled after the one built in China would have all the necessary infrastructure to support businesses.
“We will make sure the park has all the facilities such as water, electricity and others. We cannot continue as a country to let our youth suffer.
“We are also trying to move industries to the villages so that people don’t have to migrate into the big cities to find jobs,” he added.
Responding, the BoI boss said the request by the minister was in line with the objective of the bank in reducing the level of poverty and unemployment in the country.
Olagunju said, “We assure you that we are up to the task. We are ready to support the ministry and we will come up with business loan solution within the shortest time possible to fit your requests
“We are conscious of the fact that we need to hit the ground running and we will do all our best to unlock finance for our youth in the agric sector particular in agro processing.”


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