United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has granted as much as N85billion loans to Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Also, lending to the power sector is in excess of N180billion across the UBA Group, recent figures revealed.
Agriculture is Nigeria’s single largest contributor to economic growth and employs the largest number of rural dwellers, yet its share of banking sector credit has been low because commercial banks regard the sector as unsafe for lending.
Recent figures obtained from UBA group revealed that the bank is the highest lender to agriculture.
Head, Investor Relations, at the UBA Group, Mr. Abiola Rasaq said at a recent interactive session with journalists that the bank’s loans to the agriculture sector represent about 5 per of its overall loan book. He explained that the Pan-African financial institution find these sectors to be very critical to Nigeria’s economic growth and stability. Besides, he said the loans to the agriculture sector will help Nigeria attain her target to be self-sufficient in food production.
Rasaq also noted that UBA group was one the banks that have extended a lot of loans to the manufacturing sector because it is very critical to the growth of Nigerian economy.
“We are one the banks that lend a lot of money to the manufacturing sector and one of the few banks that lend a lot of money to the power sector because we find these sectors to be critical.
In terms of SMEs, UBA is the highest lender to agriculture. Today our loan book in agriculture alone represents about 5 per of our overall loan book of N1.7trn; that represents about N85billion in agric.
“In power, today, we have lend in excess of N180billion across the UBA Group, and not just in Nigeria but in some other African countries because we have identified these sectors to be very critical, not only from a business perspective to us as a bank, but also because we believe that if we get the agric sector right for example, we will attain food self-sufficiency, which is very important. So we see that as a way of supporting the real sector of the economy not necessary from the banking sector perspective or from a profit making perspective”, said Rasaq.
In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Rasaq said the bank spent N816million in 2017 alone supporting the economy.
He said: “We donated N300million to the Nigeria Police because of security issue in Nigeria and likewise some other banks. We also donated N50 million to Lagos state security trust fund. In addition to that, UBA also donated N25million to four different states to help secure their states.” This he said was aside construction of roads in some villages and various supports to schools in parts of the country.