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Anambra State Commence Amortization of Micro- Finance loans by Farmers Cooperatives impacted by the 2012 floods

By Mazi Odera

Just after one and a half month of doling out N400 million to communities affected by the 2012 floods, the Anambra State Government has commenced the amortization of bad micro-finance loans owed by farmers impacted by the 2012 floods. The goal is to offer the affected farmers a clean slate to continue farming and also save the micro finance institutions from collapsing.

The first of such measure was taken by Gov. Peter Obi, who delivered a cheque of N8 million to Chukwuneye Micro-Finance scheme in Nnewi, to cover the losses incurred by farmers from Ogwu Aniocha, in Ogbaru LGA, who were not able to amortize their farm loans. The funding is direct from the Anambra State as opposed to federal flood relief funds. Several farmers' associations in the Omambala and Ogbaru areas lost their collective loans and owe huge sums to several micro-finance institution. They too will have their bad loans assessed and amortized.

Gov. Obi said it would be a tragedy if farmers lost their loans due to a force majure and the lending institutions were allowed to fail. "No good or sensible government would standby and see such a thing to happen." The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Most Rev. Hilary Odili Okeke, who received the cheque on behalf of Chukwuneye Micro Finance Scheme, thanked the governor for his "altruism and the responsive character" of his government.

SSG Oseloka H. Obaze, who chairs Anambra State Flood Disaster Relief Coordinating Committees (SFDRCC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT) for the Anambra State Flood Emergency Fund, explained that the BoT had met on Thursday 11 April 2013, and agreed that the next tranche of flood relief funding would be targeted at priority areas including manufacturing and industry as well as micro-finance houses and farmers collectives that lost loans due to the floods. He noted that the gesture by Gov. Obi was to give impetus to the process.

SSG Obaze also disclosed that the BoT had reviewed the requests from several flood-affected communities such as Uli, Ikem-Ifite and Enugwu-Aguleri that claimed they were affected by the 2012 floods but did not receive any funding or relief materials. He indicated that the BoT would reconvene next week to continue its work on those requests and related matters, while awaiting expected funds from the Presidential Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Committee in Abuja.