Union Bank Pledges Increased Support for Farmers
The Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Emeka Enuwa, has assured that the bank will keep providing agricultural finance to rural farmers across the country.
He added that as a member of African Rural Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), the bank remains committed to providing rural finance in Nigeria.
“At Union Bank, we shall continue to provide credit to the agricultural sector and we encourage the other banks to do the same. We remain committed to driving investment in the agricultural sector as an active member of AFRACA and we urge all participants to align with AFRACA’s vision of a rural Africa, where people have access to sustainable financial services for economic development.”
Enuwa further said agriculture remains a vital tools that can get the country out of the current state, stressing that agricultural financing and infrastructure development must remain an unbroken chain for economic development.
The Union Bank boss stated this in Abuja at a two-day workshop titled: “Catalysing the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy Through Effective Agricultural Finance organised by AFRACA,” recently.
He recounted that Nigeria was a major exporter of palm oil, cotton and rubber in the 80s, noting that the oil boom drifted the nation to focus on oil. This, he said, has become a commodity with a value that cannot drive the economy, saying that most African countries like Angola that are dependent on oil are also going through the same economic challenge, while urging government to increase funding to agriculture to enable more farmers have access to credits.
Enuwa pledged the continuous support of Union Bank to rural farmers through a revolving micro credit.
He added: “Nigeria we all know is an oil producing nation as a number of other member nations, and over the last year or so, we find ourselves in a situation where oil revenue has declined approximately to 43 per cent year to year, 2014 to 2015. And when your foreign currency earnings declines, it has a direct impact on the economy.
“There has been a shortage in foreign currency and this has affected sectors like manufacturing and others. It has led to a disparity in the exchange rate. We have also started seeing inflation through our indices.
“Every country needs to diversify its revenue base. Revenue base is production base and that is why agriculture is very important again.
“In the case of Nigeria, we have history. We used to be the highest producer of palm oil, likewise rubber, cocoa, all and we have to get back to such glory even if it is not the same produce, perhaps different ones.”