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The Bankers' Committee is targeting a seven per cent loan growth for the agricultural sector by 2015.
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said this at the 5th Bankers’ Committee retreat held in Calabar.
Credit to the agricultural sector had risen from 1.6 per cent in 2009 to 3.7 per cent this year. The current figure indicates a growth of 85 per cent over the 1.6 per cent growth of the agricultural sector share of banks’ credit four years ago.
Sanusi, who is also the chairman of the Bankers’ Committee also projected that credit to the sector would rise to five per cent next year.
Data obtained recently from the Bankers Committee’ had shown that between July and November last year, the banks issued over N6 billion in credit guarantees to farmers.
Specifically, it showed that average loan guaranteed amounted to N397 million, with a range of N4 million to N1.5 billion and average duration of loans at 285 days.
“It is anticipated that the NIRSAL, collaboration between banks and counter-parties will push loans under guarantee in excess of N25 billion before the end of this year,” the CBN said.
However, speaking on the 2014 action plans of the bankers’ committee, Sanusi assured Nigerians and other stakeholders in the banking system of the committee’s continuous collaboration to promote an efficient and stable economy for the country. He also stated that the committee would ensure that it delivers price stability, financial stability, financial inclusion and economic growth.
“We will entrench sustainable banking by the adoption and implementation of the agreed sustainable banking principles as we go beyond profits to promote social inclusion and consider environmental principles.
“We will improve key financial access points to promote financial inclusion at all levels. Mobility and agency services will be the centre-point for our drive to improve access to financial services for the under-banked and unbanked,” the CBN governor added.
In addition, he disclosed that the committee also revalidated its goals to include the modernisation of the payment system; shared services and infrastructure for the financial industry to reduce cost; increased funding of small and medium enterprises, agriculture, power and telecommunications sectors.
Sanusi pointed out that the bankers’ committee would maintain its commitment to providing finance for SMEs to promote economic growth.
“Modernisation of the financial services industry infrastructure and payment system is critical to reduce cost of services to the banking public. We will continue to explore and develop areas of collaboration in shared services and infrastructure to reduce the operating cost structure of the industry,” he declared.