The Federal Government has said that the loan given to members of the Master Bakers Association of Nigeria under the N3.4bn Cassava Bread Intervention Fund will not be written off..
The Cassava Bread Fund was created by the Federal Government in 2008 as part of the transformation policy in the agribusiness sector.
The initiative was aimed at providing equipment and working capital support to Master Bakers and High Quality Cassava Flour processors across Nigeria.
The Chief Risk Officer, BoI, Dr Ezekiel Oseni, said the objectives of the Federal Government for cassava bread production was being threatened due to the high non-repayment rate of the loan.
He said this at a meeting in Abuja with members of Masterbakers union
About 94 per cent of the loan collected by High Quality Cassava Flour Processors have yet to be repaid while 86 per cent of loans collected by Master Bakers are still outstanding, he said.
The implications of this, he noted, was that it would be difficult for the government to provide more funding for the sector.
He stressed that the objectives of government in conserving foreign exchange, creation of jobs along the cassava value chain, and prevention of post-harvest losses may not be achieved.
Earlier, the National Secretary of the Master Bakers Association of Nigeria, Jude Okafor, urged the government to write off the interest on the loans to make it easier for the debt to be repaid.
He pleaded with the government to stop the use of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other security agencies in harassing members of the association that are yet to repay their loans adding that steps are being taken to offset their indebtedness.
He also urged the government to extend the repayment period of the loan to about ten years
Dr Ezekiel Oseni described suggestions by Master Bakers Association of Nigeria for the loans to be written off as unrealistic in the light of current economic realities, adding that the association should do all it could to encourage its members to repay their debt.