The Growth Enhancement Scheme Agro-dealers Association of Nigeria (GESAAN) staged a peaceful protest in Abuja Tuesday over N39 billion owed them by the Federal Government.
The National Chairman of the association, Kabiru Fara, said government was yet to pay members for farm inputs redeemed by small holder farmers under the GES scheme since 2014.
He said members of the association have suffered untold hardships over the nonpayment saying “a total sum of N29billion has remained unpaid to date for the supply of fertilizers, seeds and other inputs by the past administration in 2014, while the sum of about N9.8billion is also being owed for recent distribution made for the 2016/2017 dry season framing.”
Fara said GESAAN had assisted the Federal Government in distribution of farm inputs through the GES programme adding that “the farmers pay 50%, while the Federal Government pay 50%. But the share of the Federal Government is not forthcoming, as per 2014, 2015 and 2017.
He said the dealers agreed to take part in the recent distribution after assurances by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh that payment would be made within two weeks of completion of the exercise
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Bukar Hassan called for patience on the side of the dealers, while assuring that payment would soon be made.
He said President Muhammdu Buhari has already approved part of the N39 billion debt saying payment would begin immediately soon through the Federal Ministry of Finance.