The Central Bank of Nigeria says it may use the Global Standing Instruction (GSI) against loan defaulters of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Mr. Celsus Agla, Senior Manager, Development Finance Office, Port-Harcourt Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, disclosed this in meeting with maize farmers and stakeholders.
Invoking the GSI implies that a bank client will no longer be allowed to receive a loan or credit from one bank and refuse to repay it while having numerous other bank accounts with sufficient cash to repay the first bank.
Agla said as a last resort, the central bank may have to deploy the GSI to get the farmers to repay their loans.
Agla also pointed out that if the defaulters proved stubborn, the “GSI is a system whereby if you have an account with any bank outside say Unity Bank and there’s money in that account; because your BVN is attached to these loans if the GSI is triggered, the money in those accounts can be collected to repay the loan to Unity Bank.”
The National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Dr. Bello Abubakar, said the objective of the meeting was to review the impact of the loan on food security, deliberate on loan repayment strategies and the way forward for maize farmers.
Despite the various gains made so far in ABP implementation, Abubakar noted that there have been problems, notably because several farmers across the country have misconceptions about repayment.
He claimed that some of them have mistaken the loan for a gift and that some farmers even seemed to be astonished when asked about payback.
Other obstacles he mentioned included late money disbursement, natural calamities such as floods and droughts, COVID-19, insecurity, and political factors.
According to Abubakar, several politicians gave the false idea that the loan was from them and that it was free.
He continued by saying that these difficulties had impacted how well the loan repayment had gone.
Nevertheless, he said that the organization would collaborate with the central bank and private financing initiatives to use every legal tool at its disposal to force loan defaulters to make their payments.
He added, “We have to make sure that we have taken all the necessary actions and measures to make the farmers who took these loans pay up.
“So, that is why we decided to go round all the 36 states of the country starting with the South-South and South-East to come together and meet with our stakeholders so that we can discuss, deliberate and come up with a very concrete solution to this problem, what way do we go to ensure these farmers pay up these loans.“
“We know there are some challenges but a loan is a loan, the loan is not a grant, the loan is not a subsidy, so, therefore, we must follow these farmers to the end and make sure they repay back the loan and that is why we are here.”
The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) evolved from consultations with stakeholders comprising the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, State Governments, agro-processors, commodity associations, financial institutions and smallholder farmers to ramp up agricultural production, boost non-oil exports and diversify the revenue base of Nigeria.
The core of the Programme is to provide loans to smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production, create jobs, and reduce food import bills for the conservation of foreign reserves.