The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for not addressing the issue of high interest rates by commercial banks in his 2022 budget presentation at the National Assembly on Thursday.
The northern sociocultural group, in a statement signed by its National Chairman and former minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, said that high bank interest rates charged will kill the nation’s economy.
They noted that no business can survive with 27 to 30 per cent interest rate.
The group further lamented that while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made efforts to reduce the interest rates, commercial banks still charge exorbitant rates.
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“For nearly three decades, we have endured the most outrageous interest rates that any developing country can endure,” the statement said.
“How can we continue to pay lip service to the vital issue of the growth of SME’s Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, the prosperity of the younger generation if we make it impossible for them to access credit?
“We appreciate the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, but we regret to say those efforts will not solve the problem when Commercial Banks are still charging 27-30%.
“What kind of business will anybody do with such interest rates?
“We think that the Nigerian economy cannot experience real growth if access to reasonable credit remains forever blocked.”