Branch Controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Jos, Mr. Mathias Kurah at the weekend said the apex bank granted N98.9 million agriculture loans to 487 farmers in Plateau in 2015.
Kurah stated this on Saturday night in Jos during the 2015 end of the year Dinner/Award Ceremony organised by the Bankers’ Forum in Plateau.
The controller, who is also the Chairman of the Forum, said the loans were in furtherance of the CBN’s efforts in development financing centered on the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme.
He said that it had been validated that such facilities play a key role in unleashing the economic potentials of people and thus remained a major instrument of growth and development.
Kurah, however, expressed disappointment that out of the amount the CBN granted as agriculture loan in the state, only one Money Depositing Bank (MDB) and three micro-finance banks (MFBs) actively participated. “We encourage money depositing banks and micro-finance banks to fully avail themselves with the various opportunities put forward by CBN in the state.
“This will go a long way in closing the gap for the existence of wonder banks which has seen Plateau as breeding ground and Jos as a city of exploitation,’’ he said.
The branch controller commended the MFBs during the year under review for participating actively in granting credits to rural farmers and the micro, small and medium enterprises.
He urged them to not only sustain the tempo but should make deliberate efforts to increase their participations.
He explained that such efforts would by extension promote financial inclusion and enhance positive changes in the socio-economic structure of the society.
Kurah advised the state government to emulate other progressive states by using micro-finance banks to pay workers salaries which would in turn strengthen the MFBs and encourage them to increase their lending capacity.
Gov. Simon Lalong, represented by Mrs. Tamwakat Weli, Commissioner for Finance said the state government had taken steps to boost its Internally Generated Revenue and reduce over dependence on Federal allocation. “There is need for collaboration with all stakeholders particularly between the state government and banks in the state in order to achieve our common goals.
“In recognition of the key role the banking industry plays, the administration is doing its best to ensure that each bank in the state host at least one account of the state government,’’ he said.
Lalong appealed to banks to invest in human and capital development, adding that they should pay special attention to the agricultural sector particular now that the oil sector was nose-diving.
The governor advised them to design and market products for the different agro businesses, adding that such was the only way out of the present economic challenges facing the country.
Our correspondent also reports that the Key Stone Bank emerged as the best bank in currency processing activities in 2015 while Union Bank got an award as the best performance in development financing in the state.
First Bank of Nigeria won an award as the best performance in treasury activities in 2015 Lowland Micro-Finance Bank emerged as the best micro-finance bank in 2015.
Individual awards went to Prof. Isawa Elaigwu of Institute for Governance and Social Research for his contribution to promotion of peace and security.
Mr. Layi Layi Oyatoki, Managing Director, Grand Cereals Nigeria Plc won an award for promotion of local content.‬

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