Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has expressed displeasure over the 11.7 billion naira (US$72 million) spent annually by the government on the importation of processed tomato paste, even though Nigeria is a major grower of the commodity.
The private Guardian newspaper Thursday quoted Sanusi to have said, at a ceremony in the capital city of Abuja, that due to the dysfunctional agricultural value chain system, about 50 per cent of the tomato produced in the country were being lost to lack of preservation, poor marketing distribution and access to markets.
The CBN Governor, who was represented by the bank’s Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Sarah Alade, said in order to reverse the situation, the bank came up with an intervention programme of 200 billion naira (US$1.231 million) Commercial Agricultural Lending Scheme to support the federal government of Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).
He said the initiatives were implemented to improve access to finance by the agri-business operators at a single digit interest rate and as part of commitment to revolutionising the sector.
The scheme has disbursed a total of 199.25 billion naira (US$1.226 million) to 270 projects since inception.