A group, Movement for Genuine Change, on Thursday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria not to grant Shonga Farms Holdings Limited N2bn credit facility.
The Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, during his recent visit to the farm in Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State had said that the bank would grant the farm a N2bn loan under the Commercial Agric Credit Scheme.
He was accompanied on the visit by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, among other dignitaries.
Emefiele had said the loan would attract an interest rate of nine per cent, stressing that the state had a comparative advantage in poultry business, making it necessary to support the management and owners of Valentine Farms, the operators of the poultry section. According to him, the business has provided employment opportunities to a lot of unemployed youths in the state.
But the Chairman of the MGC, Mr. Hezekiah Oyedepo, and another official of the group, Mr. Oyedepo Iyiola, said there was no basis to grant the farm the N2bn loan.
Oyedepo said the ownership of Shonga Farm was no longer clear to residents of the state.
He said, “All we know is that Shonga was founded and funded by the state government. The last time I saw their registration two or three years ago, it did not have the state government as a part owner. One thing we have found over time is that ownership of Kwara State assets changes from year to year.
“We believe that if the funds that had gone there could not revive Shonga Farm in the past, it is unfair to sink additional funds…How much of its rice or any of its products is in the Kwara market?”
Iyiola stated that the credit facility, if given to Shonga, could be mismanaged and claimed that residents of the state had not benefited from the establishment of the farm.
He added that instead of granting such loan to Shonga Farms, farmers in the state should be empowered.
He said, “Nobody needs to come from Zimbabwe to teach us how to rear chicken. And is it for that poultry business that N2b is being loaned?”