Presidency charges banks on investment in agriculture


President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the banking sector to keep up its support for the agriculture sector to make the government’s food security programme a total success.

President Buhari gave the charge on Friday while receiving the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) led by the chairman, Dr Uche Olowu, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He commended the banking industry for increasing its lending in key job-creating areas such as agriculture in the last four years and welcomed its collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria in this regard, noting that the partnership had been a “key anchor’’ to the food security programme of his administration.

“We can only feed ourselves by deploying capital in the right areas. I implore the banking community to keep this trend up “, he said.

Affirming that the banking sector is critical to the economic development of any society, President Buhari said he is proud that Nigeria has the most vibrant, creative and innovative banking sector in Africa.

“Nigerian bankers have not only proved themselves in Nigeria alone, but across the entire continent and in other parts of the world.

“I am proud when I visit African countries and see posters or branches of Nigerian banks. I will ask all your members to continue to be great ambassadors of Nigeria as you expand within Africa and beyond, “ the President said.

He appealed to state governments to simplify the process of land ownership in their domains to enable more Nigerians access bank facilities for affordable homes.

He expressed concern on some challenges, such as land and other collateral related issues, hindering the banking industry’s ability to lend to the real sector.

“As a government, we are also facing such challenges as part of our various affordable housing programmes.  But I am urging state governments to assist by simplifying and rationalising land matters,” he said.