From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
A Forum of Agricultural Input Suppliers of the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme from Sokoto State has petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over non-payment of their contract sums by the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA).
The forum in the petition signed by 15 agricultural input supplying firms and made available to the media in Kaduna yesterday stated that, the suppliers were engaged in the first quarter of 2017 by the Project Management Team on CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme to supply inputs to farmers, with a promise that, they would be paid two weeks after the supply.
They lamented that, after eight months of the contract, input suppliers attached to UBA have not been paid, when those under Unity Bank Plc have since been paid.
The agricultural input suppliers, however, asked the CBN to compel UBA to immediately disburse the funds due to each of the suppliers along with the accrued interest from the date of release of funds from CBN.
According to the petition, “That all companies who are party to this complaint were severally engaged in the first quarter of 2017 as Agricultural Input Suppliers by the Project Management Team on CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, Sokoto State and the companies fully executed their respective responsibilities accordingly.
“That disbursement due to us has been withheld for several months amounting to dereliction on the part of commercial banks in custody of the monies we are entitled.
“That the commercial banks designated to warehouse our payments are; United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Access Bank Plc and Unity Bank Plc.
“That of the three banks aforementioned, only Unity Bank Plc has commendably met their obligation of disbursing to suppliers whose payment was domiciled with them.
“That United Bank for Africa Plc on their part have continued to withhold disbursement to suppliers for more than four months after receipt of fund from CBN,” the petition read.
While noting that, the suppliers participate in the Anchor Borrowers Programme based on the integrity of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the CBN, they said non-payment of the fund has negatively affected their business and may force them to downsize, which will definitely increase the already saturated labour market.
The petitioners, however, asked the CBN to “compel UBA to immediately disburse the funds due to each of the suppliers along with the accrued interest from the date of release of funds from CBN and same interest to be at treasury bills prevailing market rate.
They equally asked the CBN to intervene on the plight of suppliers who discharge their contract under fiduciary attachment to Access Bank Plc, which they said pulled out of the Anchor Borrowers Programme after takeoff.