NIM chief urges banks to invest in agric to transform economy

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Prof. Olukunle Iyanda, President, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) on Monday advised commercial banks to grant more loans to farmers to enable agriculture contribute more the growth of the economy.

Iyanda told News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that although investing in other sectors may lead to growth due to quick returns, they do not restructure or develop the economy as much as agriculture.

He, therefore, urged banks to grant loans to farmers and those involved in the value chain at single digit interest rates to enable agriculture contribute more to the growth of the economy.

“Agriculture is the most widely diffused economic activity which benefits the people in all geographic locations.

“As a result, to develop and restructure the economy of this country, we need to engage in a field that cuts across because every part of this country is at an advantage to produce one thing or the other.

“The petroleum industry, which is currently the life source of the economy, cannot engage a large number of persons as most of its conversion to finished products are done outside the country.

“Agriculture develops the economy because of the linkage effects it has on the employment chain.

“This is because it involves the production of a lot of raw materials for several industries which then engage people to transform those materials into finished products,” he said.

The professor said a robust agricultural sector would reduce the importation of goods and create employment for the youths.

He advised farmers to take advantage of the abundant arable land to see farming as a profitable venture not just for family consumption but for commercial purposes.

“Each time we travel by road in this country, we are greeted by the sight of uncultivated virgin lands.

“In advanced climes, you see kilometres upon kilometres of wheat, maize, sorghum planted for both consumption and sales.

“We are to be grateful for the favourable weather conditions we possess as cultivation can be done for up to 10 months in some cases in the country,” he said.

Iyanda added that the government as a big purchaser of goods must patronise and pay promptly to ensure that businesses do not go under from debts.

“This is a way of encouraging local industry,” he said.

He said the institute would continue to offer its services to develop and modernise training programmes for businesses to thrive. (NAN)

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