Abuja — The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced a single digit lending rate to fast-track the resuscitation of the nation's palm oil industry as a second foreign exchange earner.
Consequently, it has added the commodity to its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CASC) for farmers with lending not exceeding nine per cent yearly.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the announcement yesterday at a meeting with some South South and South East governors as well as stakeholders in the value chain in Abuja.
The move comes three weeks after the apex bank introduced similar initiatives to revive the textile and cotton industries. It had sanctioned a five per cent yearly interest rate for cotton growers and other value chain operators with a far-reaching policy, including denying importers and smugglers of textile products banking services.
He regretted that in the late 50s and 60s, Nigeria was not only the world's leading producer but also the largest exporter of the product, commanding a 40 per cent market share.
Emefiele stated: "Today we are a distant fifth among leading producers of palm oil. We barely produce up to three per cent of the global output with an estimated production of 800,000 MT while countries like Malaysia and Indonesia produce 25 million and 41 million tonnes."