CBN suspends all loans to NIRSAL as corruption scandal rocks the program
The Central Bank of Nigeria has halted all further disbursements to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Peoples Gazette can report, amidst widespread allegations of corruption.
The agency’s flagship Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and its chief executive Aliyu Abdulhameed have been rocked by charges of endemic graft in recent months, with multiple officials plugged-in about the crisis telling The Gazette that Mr Abdulhameed has all but run down the flagship commercial agriculture scheme.
The CBN’s suspension of further loans to NIRSAL under Mr Abdulhameed was contained in a March 10 correspondence that referenced a February 24 meeting in which the decision was taken for an immediate pause on all loans. The memo said the decision would only be rescinded after all outstanding loans out of NIRSAL have been resolved.
NIRSAL was also asked to submit monthly reports on its activities to CBN, a decision that indicated a retraction of CBN’s confidence long enjoyed by the credit risk managers.
Officials said the action was a major blow to Mr Abdulhameed, although it would also leave some farmers stranded since NIRSAL would no longer have any loan to disburse or plunder.
“We know it is bad for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, but at least we know that there will be no money to steal further,” an official said under anonymity because of his current appointment under the Buhari administration. “The CBN’s action is a welcomed development because NIRSAL has been exposed to a lot of bad debts due to its focus on corruption rather than productivity and development of the agric value chain.”