By HILARY Y. KASMI

Plateau State Governor Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong on Wednesday received the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos.

This was contained in a press statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the governor, Makut Macham, a copy of which was mailed to THE NIGERIA STANDARD in Jos.

According to the statement, the delegation was led by Yusuf Dunia, Branch Controller of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Jos who explained that they were at the governor’s office to brief him on National Strategic Initiative Programme which is aimed at educating the citizens of Plateau State on the different social intervention programmes of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It added that among the programmes is the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) targeted at empowering 10,000 Plateau Youths through Government’s partnership in the provision of 100 hectares of land per cluster for which the CBN has earmarked the sum of N1.5bn to be secured through ISPO and a two-year tenor at 9% all-inclusive rate.

“There is also the Agri-business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) that grants loans to applicants that have undergone entrepreneurship/vocation training where up to 10 million can be secured.

“Others are the Oil Palm Plantation Intervention as well as Rehabilitation of Existing Grazing Reserves where funds will be made available for rehabilitating the already existing gazetted grazing reserves to provide for Diaries Activities which will in turn boost the economy of the State.

“The last is the Financial Inclusion Strategy to facilitate the opening of bank accounts by rural dwellers”, the statement added.

The statement also quoted Governor Lalong as assuring the CBN team that Plateau State welcomes development initiatives that would be beneficial to the people of the state.

He said the only challenge is that some of these programmes are carried out without proper sensitization of the beneficiaries and host communities which leads to misinformation that can eventually stall it.

He observed that the CBN is yet to remove the directive to commercial banks in Plateau State to close by 3pm despite the return of peace. He lamented “we have invested so much to restore peace in Plateau State and one can say that our state is one of the relatively peaceful in Nigeria today. Why would the CBN not lift that timing which was specific to the crisis of the past? Our people are being shortchanged from carrying out their banking activities like their counterparts in other states where banks close at 4pm”.

While calling for more inclusion in the Anchor Borrowers Programme, he said the Plateau State Medium Enterprise Development Agency (PLASMIDA) has been properly funded over the years so that Plateau citizenry will benefit immensely from all the intervention programmes aimed at reducing poverty.

In a related development, the Governor also received a delegation from the German Development Agency, GIZ led by Dr. Detlev Holloh, head of the Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment.

He commended the partnership between GIZ and the State which he says has been yielding positive results and creating opportunities.

Dr. Holloh informed the Governor that the GIZ was expanding its intervention in Nigeria and Plateau State is one of benefiting states having been a partner for a long time.

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