The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has disbursed N948 billion to 4,478,381smallholder farmers, to upscale food production in the country.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed this in Ado-Ekiti while delivering the 25th and 26th combined convocation lecture of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), on Monday in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
He spoke on the topic: “The Role of Central Bank in Managing Economic Downturns.”
Our correspondent reports that the lecture also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Institution’s establishment.
The CBN Governor said the lofty programme, apart from encouraging farming, had also generated an aggregate of 12.5 million direct and indirect jobs for the the Nigerian youths.
Emefiele added that the bank had disbursed N368.79 billion to 778,000 beneficiaries under the credit facility.
This, he said, is to help households and businesses that suffered significant losses during the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Giving the breakdown of how the facility was disbursed, Emefiele revealed that 648,052 households and owners of Small and Medium Enterprises benefited from the federal government-driven policy.
“As you all know, one of the major challenges facing Nigerian economy is over reliance on revenues and foreign exchange earnings from the sale of crude oil, even though the petrol represents just 10 per cent of our GDP.
“Moreso, the non-oil sector, particularly agricultural and manufacturing sectors, which contribute about 30 and 13 per cent to our GDP have been confronted with low investments, inadequate credit to real sector and weak infrastructure.
“Furthermore, with an annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent, it was important that all efforts were made available for Nigerians, particularly in sectors that had the potentials to absorb youths.
“We were aware that if necessary support was given to households and business, productivity will rise and and investment will flow into our economy,” he said.
The CBN Governor hinged the current economic downturn and hardship in the system on the economic recession of 2015-2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic that ushered in a revenue drop and reduction in foreign investment portfolio.
In his remarks, Prof. Edward Olanipekun, the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, described the 40 years of the establishment of the university as impacting in the life of the state.
He said that the university has been a reliable training ground for the future leaders.
Olanipekun assured that no effort would be spared to keep the flag of the Institution flying.
This, he said, is in its resolve to be a good citadel of learning for Nigerians in spite of the challenges being experienced.
Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, the Chairman of the occasion and Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, urged governments to be more pragmatic in the implementation of some of their policies for them to impact more on the citizens.
“Our thought and actions must be practical-oriented. We have to go beyond lectures.
”This is by being practical in dealing with policies that can benefit poor Nigerians,” he said.