There is controvesy over the status of the N15billion the Federal Government advanced to the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) for on-lending to farmers, The Nation has learnt.
Vice President Namadi Sambo had said the Federal Government has extended a N15 billion grant to the BoA to lend at a single-digit to farmers for this year’s farming season.
But a source said no such grant has been released by the government, saying what the Vice President referred to was the recapitalisation fund injected into BoA.
The source, who asked that his identity be veiled, said as civil servants, they are not in a position to contradict the Vice President on such a sensitive issue.
He denied the existence of the grant, insisting that what Sambo was referring to was the recapitalisation fund, “but we cannot say the Vice President is wrong, but what he said is not as presented.”
At the closing of the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) in Abuja, Sambo had said the government was aware of the problems farmers faced, such as access to financing and the high interest rate charged by banks, adding that to solve them, the Federal Government had to take steps to remove the bottlenecks in the agricultural sector to allow for growth and development.
He described these policy initiatives as short-term measures, saying the government was putting in place mechanisms to facilitate long-term access to credit to farmers.
In February, this year, the Federal Government okayed N15 billion to recapitalise the BoA. Earlier, the BoA had received N30billion of the N50billion approved share capital in about 13 installments, since the merger of its legacy institutions in 2000.
Also last week, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, boasted that the Federal Government had paid civil servants their September salary.
However, days after, investigations revealed that civil servants have not been paid. Many civil servants said they were paid their August salary in the first week of September.
In addition, the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for August allocation, from where September salaries would be paid, did not hold on Thursday as planned, but is now scheduled for today.