The Benue State House of Assembly yesterday set up a six-man Ad-hoc committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the difficulty being faced by farmers to access agricultural loans from the Bank of Agriculture.
The House took the decision after a debate on a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Majority Leader, Benjamin Adanyi.He informed the House that the eight Assembly had approved N2 billion in 2016 as counterpart funding to be added to Federal Government’s fund through the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Bank of Agriculture (BoA) to be disbursed as loans to farmers.
Adanyi expressed disappointment that only a negligible percentage of the Benue farmers had been able to access the loan due to the stringent conditions laid down by these banks.
He alleged that even those who had met the repayment conditions had not been given the loans, adding that the essence of the loan was to enable the people diversify and avoid over reliance on oil but feared that certain persons were frustrating the initiative.
He, therefore, prayed that an Ad-hoc committee be set within one week to look into the matter and tell the House what was responsible for the failure of the BoA to disburse the loans.
Seconding the motion, Joseph Ojobo (PDP, Ogbadibo), lamented that some members of his constituency formed a cooperative society as required by the banks but had not been able to access the loans till date.
Supporting the motion, Richard Ujege (Konshisha), Terhumba Chabo (Gboko West) and Matthew Ire (Oju II) agreed that a committee be set up to find out how accessing the loan could be made more customer friendly to enable members of their constituencies benefit from the exercise.
Speaker of the House, Terkimbi Ikyange, ruled in favour of setting up a six-man committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker, James Okefe to find out how much of the approved fund could be accessed.
Ikyange charged the committee to find out when the money was accessed, what percentage of the counterpart funds has been disbursed and any other findings that would help in ending the difficulties in accessing the loans.The committee, which has two weeks to submit its report, has Iana Jato, Adams Okloho, Avine Agbom and Matthew Ire as members.