The Central Bank of Nigeria’s ambitious Anchor Borrowers’ Loan Scheme, aimed at providing funds to boost agricultural production, is facing a significant hurdle as beneficiaries struggle to repay their loans upon maturity.
This predicament has resulted in government funds being tied up and has prevented others from accessing the program.
Investigations reveal that out of the N1.1 trillion disbursed by the Central Bank to Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme (ABS) beneficiaries since its inception, only slightly more than N546 billion has been repaid, leaving a substantial balance of N577 billion unaccounted for.
Presidential concern over unpaid anchor borrowers’ loans ignites action
This situation has reportedly caused concern within the Presidency, which fears that the program’s objectives may be undermined if the substantial outstanding debt is not promptly recovered from the borrowers.
President Bola Tinubu, who has been briefed on the matter multiple times, is reportedly displeased that such a significant sum of money, which could benefit other farmers, is being withheld by certain beneficiaries.
In response, President Tinubu has reportedly summoned top security agencies in the country to take all necessary measures to recover the government’s substantial funds from the defaulters by September 18, 2023.
The goal is to make these funds available to genuine farmers seeking loans to enhance food production.
At a meeting with security agencies in Abuja, it was revealed that a subsidiary of the Central Bank and a commercial bank in the country had misappropriated N255 million, which was intended for farmers and individuals in need of loans for agricultural improvement.