How possible is it that your micro finance bank, when it commences full operation, will be giving farmers loan on single digit interest?Yes, the issue of giving farmers loan on a single digit interest is one of the objectives of the bank and that is the priority of the World Bank. The programme is on a sustainable basis. As you know some farmers are into crop production, some into livestock, others are into small scale industries and so on. The aim is to give farmers loan to support them in upgrading their business. The bank is meant to help the farmers to grow economically in their respective areas. Any interested farmer under the project can apply for loan at a single digit interest rate. Can other farmers in the state that are not under the Fadama project operate accounts in the bank, buy shares and even secure loans? You know as a bank there are certain requirements and procedures. One thing is that definitely we will open it up to other farmers who are not under the scheme. Any interested farmer can apply for loan but there must be slight difference in the interest rate. Other farmers’ interest rate will be higher than the single digit rate. There must be slight difference but for our farmers who are members, who are the shareholders that own the bank, single digit interest will remain their interest rate because they are the owners of the bank. Other farmers are free to operate accounts in the bank, but let me emphasise that those farmers will have a different interest rate; we will give them moderate charges, which will not be more than 3, 4 or 5%. Other farmers can also buy shares; we will open up to other farmers to buy our shares. Are the farmers thinking of expanding the shares of the bank by allowing money bags to invest? Well, we have to be very cautious with these money bag investors because some of them might come at the end of the day and highjack the bank. We will be very cautious but certainly we will open it up to some of them but they must undergo strict interviews to know who they are and their intention toward the bank. We must know why they want to invest in the bank, there must be limitation before we allow them become shareholders in the bank. When you allow anybody at will to buy the shares, you know Nigerians, anybody that has the lion’s share will want to monopolise the whole thing and that is what we are running away from. Certainly, we will open up to some of them.What is your long term plan on value chain addition? Any plan to set up processing factories? When the bank stabilises, we shall be looking at setting up other businesses. We want to add value to our commodities probably some processing industries by the Grace of God if we are able to have enough funds at our disposal. We intend to set up processing industries and so on. We have plans on ground to set up processing and manufacturing industries to compliment the efforts of our farmers and their economy as well as develop our country at large.
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