By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The management of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has earmarked the sum of N37 billion to develop and support export commodities from primary production to the exporting stage across the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The bank said each state and FCT would benefit from N1 billion loan with single-digit interest rate to harness a chosen agricultural product that is export worthy in order to complement the federal government’s quest of diversifying the oil-based revenue to agriculture.
The Managing Director of NEXIM, Mr. Abba Bello, who led a delegation of the bank to pay a courtesy call on the Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari Monday evening at the Government House, Katsina, said the team was in Katsina to present the product and workable plans to the governor to kick-start the project in the state.
He said: “Katsina State is known for certain commodities that are exportable for instance, Soya beans. So what we have come to suggest to his Excellency is let’s choose one or two products that we can support from primary production using anchor-borrower scheme.
“We are piloting the scheme with at least N1 billion in Katsina, and we intend to see it done to burst export of commodities in the state before the end of this year’s farming season. The fund might be inadequate, but the portfolio will be increased.”
According to the NEXIM Bank chief, the initiative if accomplish, would generate employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the state, enhance food production and thus improving the economic status of the country.
Bello called on the state government and farmers across Katsina to consider harnessing and exporting farming products internationally, reaffirming that NEXIM would not relent in its effort in supporting farmers and state governments to avert overdependence on oil as a source of revenue generation in Nigeria.
Governor Masari, in his response, said the N1 billion loan would not be adequate to cater for the farmers in the state, which he said are contributing immensely in supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts of diversifying the country’s economy from oil to agriculture.
The governor called on the bank to look at ways it could invest in processing of export-worthy products from the states of the federation, adding: “You must look beyond the exportation of products but ensure that the products are processed within the affected states.”