Stakeholders and experts in the Agricultural sector have tasked the Federal Government to ensure due process is followed when the African Development Bank released the loan facilities worth $4.1bn meant for critical sectors of the economy to the country.
They feared that the loans, which is to address the 2016 budget deficit and aid her economic recovery, may be diverted or given to some corrupt politicians. An Agric expert, Mr. Kehinde Ejioye, alleged that most of the loans issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria had not reached the operators in the state as planned but hijacked by some greedy politicians.
According to him, if the loan which is expected to be released in 2017 is diverted, the current economic recession would last longer than envisaged. “FG should set up a monitoring team that must include operators across different sub-sectors, leaders of associations, and stakeholders among others. The government should be careful of some sycophants in Abuja,” he warned.
Also, an industrialist, Mrs. Funmilola Ajayeoba, cautioned the government not to allow the fund to be diverted by corrupt officials. Instead of allocating some amount to the Transmission Company of Nigeria to improve its facilities, she insisted that the power sector should be fully privatized while the Federal Government regulate the sector.
Meanwhile, the President of AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed that the package includes; $1 billion in budget support, $300 million to create jobs for 185,000 youths, $250 million towards infrastructure development in the North-East, $1 million grant to deal with challenges of Internally Displaced Persons, $300m for infrastructure development around Abuja, and $200m for the Transmission Company of Nigeria to improve its facilities, among others.
As the largest shareholder in the bank, Adesina said that the bank was in Nigeria to offer its support in the face of the current tough times.
He said, “I think the times are difficult but I want to commend the government for being bold in taking the right decisions. I think that the fact that the price of crude oil has gone down is a big challenge, because you have 98 per cent external forex revenue coming from the sector.
“So, it has created calibrations; I’m not going to go into the details of all the problems, but what is important is what we are going to do about it.
“I’m not here to lecture the Nigerian government. I’m here to support very strongly. We have said that we are going to support the Nigerian government with the budget support to be able to deal with some of the fiscal imbalances that they have. We are looking to consider for an award of $1bn to help to deal with that particular deficit.”