The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) says the poor attitude of farmers toward loans repayment has impacted negatively on the operations of the bank.
Mr Ibrahim Alamba, the Zonal Manager (North Central) of the bank, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that most farmers viewed the bank loans as part of their share of the nation’s resources.
Alamba, who was reacting to complaints by some farmers over the delay in loan disbursement by the bank, said that the bank was, however, embarking on aggressive loan recovery to recoup all the monies owed by its customers.
He said that some of the benefits, which could have accrued to the bank from the loans, had been eroded because of the resources spent on pursuing loan defaulters.
“One of the tough things to do is loan recovery. Giving out funds is easy but when it comes to loan recovery; that is when you know the true nature of most of the loan beneficiaries.
“The trouble with loan recovery, as experienced by the BOA, is that farmers always complain of not having enough harvest; they often complain of one failure or the other to dodge loan repayment.
“We have low recovery rate and it is spanning over the years. We are making efforts through sustained, organised and aggressive loan recovery to recoup the amount in default.
“We follow these farmers and where we discover some difficult ones who are determined not to pay, thinking it is their opportunity to grab money and go, we assign receiver managers and trained debt collectors to assist in the recovery.
“As much as possible, we try to avoid litigation because of the Nigerian culture: if you take someone to court, you are no longer friends.
“We talk to them but if it doesn’t work, then we invoke the terms of agreement and the receiver manager or debt collector takes over,’’ he said.
Alamba, however, conceded that one of the major constraints of the bank was inadequate funding, saying that it was the major reason for the delay in the disbursement of funds by the bank.
He listed some of the loan schemes of the bank as micro-credit loans and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) loans, adding that the interest rate on the loans were currently 12 per cent for micro-credit loans and 14 per cent for SMEs loans.
According to him, the bank is trying so hard to bring the interest rate to a single-digit level but has yet to achieve that because of certain factors.
Alamba, nonetheless, expressed optimism that the ongoing restructuring of the bank by the Federal Government would boost the loan disbursement capacity of the bank and improve agricultural production in the country.
He advised farmers to ensure that they met the bank’s conditions for loans, saying that the failure to meet the stipulated conditions was part of the reasons behind the delay in the disbursement of funds. (NAN)