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Senate indicts Bank of Agriculture over N3.2bn loan disbursement

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In a recent development, the Bank of Agriculture located in Kaduna has been indicted by the Senate for the disbursement of N3.2 billion loan to 10 vendors to purchase tractors and other equipment for allocation to end-users. This indictment was as a result of the 2016 report of Auditor General of the Federation which was considered by Senate Public Accounts Committee chaired by Senator Mathew Uhroghide.

After investigation by the Committee, the Management of the bank was found guilty of failing to account for N3.2 billion disbursed by 10 vendors out of N3.6 billion provided in 2015 by the Federal government through the bank. It was gathered that the Ministry of Agriculture selected the 10 unnamed vendors for the Management of bank of Agriculture which the N3.2 billion was disbursed.

According to reports, the loan had a four-year expiring date, and after adoption of the report of the Committee, the Senate asked for the recovery of N3.2 billion from ten unnamed vendors. The beneficiaries were expected to make repayment through Service Provider Operators (SPOs) under a revolving fund arrangement with expected multiplication effect on the national Agricultural mechanization agenda.

The query reads, “The sum of N3,200,592,007.00 (Three billion, two hundred million, five hundred and ninety-two thousand, seven naira) was disbursed out of N3,600,000,000.00 (Three billion, six hundred million naira) provided between 24th March 2015 and 17th November 2015, by the Federal Government through the Bank to 10 (ten) vendors selected by the Ministry of Agriculture to purchase tractors and other equipment for allocation to end-users.

The Bank was to monitor and supervise the disbursement as well as ensure recovery of the funds for further lending to new participants. However, the entire revolving fund could not be accounted for by the Bank’s Management. The Managing Director was communicated to account for all the amounts involved.”

In its written response, the Bank of Agriculture argued that the programme was structured with a four-year loan tenor commencing from the date of release of the machinery/equipment to the AEHE Centre. Since the machinery/equipment were not released on the same day, the expiry dates of the machinery loans also vary. However, the response was not accepted by the Senate Committee.

In conclusion, this indictment of the Bank of Agriculture has brought to the forefront the need for proper accountability and transparency in the financial sector. It is hoped that necessary measures will be put in place to ensure such discrepancies do not occur in the future. Keywords: Senate, Bank of Agriculture, loan, indictment, Kaduna, vendors, tractors, equipment, end-users, 2016 report, Auditor General of the Federation, Public Accounts Committee, Ministry of Agriculture, recovery, service provider operators, revolving fund arrangement, agricultural mechanization agenda, management, accountability, transparency, financial sector

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