The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to address the issue of high commercial bank interest rates in his presentation of the 2022 budget to the National Assembly on Thursday.
The northern socio-cultural group, in a statement signed by its national president and former agriculture minister, Chief Audu Ogbe, said high bank interest rates would kill the country’s economy.
They noted that no business can survive on an interest rate of 27 to 30 percent.
The group further lamented that although the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made efforts to cut interest rates, commercial banks are still charging exorbitant rates.
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“For nearly three decades, we have suffered the most outrageous interest rates a developing country can bear,” the statement said.
“How can we continue to speak lip service on the vital issue of the growth of SMEs, the prosperity of the young generation if we deny them access to credit?
“We appreciate the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, but regret to say that these efforts will not solve the problem while commercial banks are still charging 27-30%.
“What kind of business will we do with such interest rates?
“We believe that the Nigerian economy cannot achieve real growth if access to reasonable credit remains blocked forever. “