Senate goes after defaulters of N1.079trillion Anchor Borrowers Loans

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…tasks CBN to recover it from commercial by banks used for distribution

…says N30trillion Ways and Means recklessly handled by Emefiele

By Okechukwu Jombo

The Senate through its Ad – hoc committee probing issuance of N22.7trillion Ways and Means to the Federal Government during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has directed the apex bank to recover much of the N1.079trillion given as loans to farmers under Anchor Borrowers Loan scheme.

The N1.079trillion given as loans to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme , was part of the money spent from the N22.7trillion given as overdraft to President Buhari led government by CBN from 2015 to 2023 , which later increased to N30trillion on account of accrued interests.

Miffed by poor handling of recovery of the loans, particularly the N1.079trilliion given to farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the Chairman of the Committee , Senator Jibrin Isah ( APC Kogi East ) , at an interface with officials of CBN on Wednesday this week, directed the apex bank to debit commercial banks used for disbursement of the loan from source .

Senator Isah ‘s directive was given after unsatisfactory explanations offered by CBN officials led by Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Bala Bello, on poor recovery of the loan .

“They defaulted and why do they default. You can’t restructure the loan forever! You can go after the collateral, you must up your games,we need to recover these monies. We can’t continue to restructure forever.

“We are talking about N358billion that hasn’t been repaid and at the risk of default.

“For those that have defaulted, I suggest that we put a peg on the interest. Our focus should be on the principal. On that, those loans must have been guaranteed by the banks. I want to believe that those banks must have covered their backs through collateral.

“I am sure no bank will grant loans without collateral. They must open up to you. We have the power to go through the whole hog by debiting them at source. We can do that, let them go to Court”, he said.

The CBN Deputy Governor had in his explanations to the committee on how the yet to be recovered loans are being tackled expressed regrets over the lack of supervision by the immediate past management of the CBN under its erstwhile Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

He assured the lawmakers that the new management was doing everything possible to recover outstanding loans.

“On our own part, I want to tell you that the new management of CBN have given us a mandate to get the money back. We are under responsibility to recover these money, they belong to tax payers.

“It saddens my heart to answer questions on things we don’t know. But we inherit both assets and liability. Things could have been done better,” he lamented.

On the N30trillion Ways and Means, Senator Jibrin Isah who doubles as Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs , expressed disappointment that the CBN Act was observed in the breach by its immediate past Governor, Godwin Emefiele whom he noted unilaterally approved loans without recourse to the statutory approving authority, the Committee of Governors.

“Under the Ways and Means, Committee of Governors should have been the approving authority. But the CBN Governor did not do that, he unilaterally approved.