By Adelola Amihere
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has described as outrageous the nine percent interest rate on agricultural loans to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Minister who stated this during the second conference of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project on Tuesday in Abuja said it is impossible for the economy to grow on the back of such outrageous interest rate that has lasted for over three decades.
“What can you produce at 25 percent or even nine percent interest rate, why do we ask about poverty increasing, the private sector cannot grow, the economy cannot grow”, he quizzed.
Ogbeh argued that monetary policy makers must not be allowed to have the final word on the nation’s interest rate as the current trend cannot sustain the country’s growth and interest rate cannot remain at 25 percent or nine percent and sustain growth in agriculture.
Ogbeh further disclosed that agriculture in the last 15 years have received only three percent of bad lending as 430 Nigerians account for N4.3 trillion in debt currently held by AMCON while 60 million farmers have only received three percent.
He urged the conference to examine the need to establish a Ministry of the Future that would begin to examine what would happen if by 2050, Nigeria’s population grows to 450,000 and we are unable to feed ourselves, adding that it may resort to chaos and anarchy and would be the largest human dam in the whole universe.