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CBN, NEXIM still holding on to N550bn meant for Cocoa farmers

The Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria (CEAN) has called on the federal government to intervene on their behalf to rescue their approved export intervention grant valued at over N550bn currently lying fallow at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank.

It would be recalled that duo of CBN and NEXIM had last year announced the commencement of the implementation of the N500bn Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility and the N50bn Export Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility in order to boost non-oil exports through the provision of low-interest loans to exporters.

But the CEAN members have disclosed that they are yet to assess the facility, a situation that has forced their members to face the harsh hurdles of assessing facility from the commercial banks.

Kayode Babade, the chief scribe of the group said the exporters were still taking high interest loans from the banks for their business due to the non-implementation of the exports funds.

According to him, the current interest rate on loans from commercial banks was between 24 per cent and 27 per cent per annum, which he said was too high compare to what was obtainable in other countries of the world.

In his submission, he argued that  “We have learnt through national newspapers that the CBN has unveiled the implementation of N550bn export fund. Consequent upon this, our banks requested us to apply for loans from the fund, which we did and got letters of offer.

“Up until now, the CBN and NEXIM are yet to disburse the money to our banks for onward lending to exporters. We are at present trading with loans at a commercial interest rate of between 24 per cent and 27 per cent. This is retarding the growth of the export business,” Babade maintained.