Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited, Lamin Manjang, yesterday asked the Federal Government to harness Nigeria’s economic potentials by designing effective funding mechanism for its agricultural sector.
Manjang, who noted that agriculture has the capacity to create more jobs and become a strong source of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria called for greater autonomy for relevant bodies managing the country’s agricultural financing programme.
He spoke in Abeokuta during the maiden quarterly lecture organised by the Africa Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
At the event attended by academics and other stakeholders, the FUNAAB Vice Chancellor, Prof Kolawole Salako, lamented that the rising wave of security challenges had began to affect the nation’s agricultural sector.
CEADESE came on board in 2013 through a World Bank grant to the university to bridge the humongous gap between academia and industries, invest heavily on regional integration through strategic efforts to recruit regional students and improve research and training facilities.
In his lecture titled, “Making agricultural funding work in Nigeria,” Manjang bemoaned the low level of funding of agriculture in the country.
According to him, agriculture is generally perceived as high risk largely due to the low level of understanding of the sector and the high default rate in government-driven lending to the sector.
The bank chief observed that the agricultural sector remains the next big economic frontier waiting to be fully harnessed.
Noting that Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of $397billion, Manjang said the country’s GDP could grow near double-digit rates with the right economic policies.