As part of efforts at revitalising agriculture as alternative mainstay of the economy, the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and SunTrust Bank yesterday in Abuja sealed an e-banking agreement to the development of agricultural sector in Nigeria.
The agreement was signed at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja. The managing director/CEO of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Muhammad Jibrin and the chief executive of Bank of Agriculture Kabiru Adamu signed for their respective banks, which they said would aid agric processes as employment generating venture.
Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe described the agreement as landmark and instrumental to the development of agricultural sector in Nigeria.
Managing director/CEO of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Muhammad Jibrin said the agreement, will among other things, allows the SunTrust Bank to deploy its innovative banking services and other complimentary e-banking services to simplify BOA services to its farmer customers across its 140 branches in Nigeria.
The Sun Trust Bank boss said the deal will also allow it to deploy its banking platforms technology like ATM and other infrastructure for the over one million farmers in the kitty of BOA. Jibrin said, “We will also provide training support to the BOA staff and at the end of the day, it will be a mutually benefiting agreement to all parties.”
Speaking also, the chief executive officer of the BOA, Kabiru Adamu expressed optimism that the MoU will revolutionise agriculture in the country, saying both banks have agreed to bring together their mutually unique capabilities and experiences to enable BOA serve its customers to facilitate quicker penetration of the unbanked farmers.
He said the SunTrust Bank shall provide electronic payment solutions using its existing platform, including USSD, Mobile Money Service, Merchant and Settlement Accounts for e-transaction. Speaking, Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbe said the landmark deal will change the face of farming in the country.
Ogbe who regretted that the BOA has been in difficulty of the years, expected that the new agreement and partnership with SunTrust Bank will get it out of the woods. “We have been trying to set up IT services at the BOA but it has been difficult. We hope that with your backing, the services will eventually come to fruition,” the minister said.
He said plans are afoot for farmers to own 30 percent shares of the Bank of Agriculture, saying that “30 percent of BOA will be owned by farmers which will eventually makes it to be referred to as Farmers Bank like the one in China.”
Ogbe added that “he looks forward to achieving five percent interest rate for farmers”, describing the current interest rate as unfriendly and disincentive.