Ekiti state government has urged the management of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to honour the arrangement entered into with the state to contribute 50 million naira to the like sum released to the bank by the state government for disbursement to farmers as soft loan to assist them.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Folorunso Olabode made the entreaty at a meeting with the South-West management team of the bank in his office in Ado Ekiti.
The Commissioner who expressed his displeasure on the breach of agreements signed in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the parties that both the state government and the bank would contribute
50 million naira each payable to peasant farmers at very low interest rates, stressed that government has fulfilled its parts while the bank only contributed 28 million naira.
Mr Olabode who condemned the position of the bank for not planning to recoup its capital and interest with 46.3 million naira recovered from the farmers and ceding the liabilities to the state government, called on the authority of BOA to have a rethink and ensure that the loan
revolve round to allow more farmers to benefit.
He called on the management of the bank to intensify its loan recovery mechanism to ensure that all loans due are recovered so that more farmers would benefit from the scheme.
The Commissioner emphasized that the expected 100 million naira fund was meant to be a revolving loan to peasant farmers in Ekiti State to boost their production for enhanced living, advising BOA not to break the chain.
Mr Olabode called on the financial institution to release the balance of 22 million Naira into the fund, while the farmers should not be made to wait till the last kobo given out as loan is repaid before moving forward.
Corroborating the position of the commissioner, the Director General, Office of Transformation and Strategic Development (OTSD), Prof Bolaji Aluko said that the sum of 78 million naira disbursed by the bank to the farmers at the onset of the programme in 2013 – 2014 did not reflect the true picture of the agreement reached with the state, adding that it was unfair for the bank that invested 28 million naira to now take all the 46.3 million recovered.
Prof Aluko called for the revisit of the earlier relationship to empower more farmers for increased productivity, with an advice to the bank to mobilize the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the loan recovery process since most of the beneficiaries were either public servants or guaranteed by public servants.
Responding, the South-West Zonal Manager of BOA, Mrs Titilayo Folorunsho, who was represented by the Zonal Head of Finance, Mr
Raymond Asada assured that the bank, would try as much as it could to sustain the good relationship with the state.
Mrs Folorunso, who said that BOA has disbursed 71 million naira loan to farmers in Ikole and Ijero Local Government Areas of the state this planting season under the corporate mandate of the bank to boost production, promised to fine tune some grey areas in the MOU for a productive and effective collaboration.
She said that the bank was planning to involve loan recovery agents, who would be paid at the expense of the defaulters, assuring the bank’s preparedness to partner the state to empower farmers, not minding the past differences.
The parties agreed to revisit the early MOU signed at the onset to correct some shortcomings identified for a better and productive relationship.