In its quest to upscale activities in the agricultural sector of Nigeria, National Chairman of Agro Dealers Association (ADA), Alhaji Kabiru Umar-Fara has exposed the plans of the Federal Government who have confirmed to begin payment of the N10.3 billion debt owed Agro-dealers in the country.
The massive debt which was accumulated during former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s regime was reported to have ran into a hefty N10.3 billion under the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme run. Reports from reliable sources have it that between the years 2013 and 2015, the agro dealers were owed about N60 billion by President Goodluck Jonathan administration for supplying inputs to farmers.
Umar-Fara opened up in an interview on Tuesday, that the money was meant for inputs supplied to farmers across the country between 2013 and 2015 for wet and dry season farming.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh was lauded by the National Chairman appreciated for his doggedness in pursuing the payment.
“The last chunk of our outstanding payment is ready and most likely will be paid this week.
“We have to use this medium to thank the Minister of Agriculture for honouring his word and pursuing our payment.
“We are thankful to this administration, they met a debt of over N60 billion from the last administration and they agreed to pay.
“As the National Chairman, I am confirming to you that the last payment, which is N10.3 billion is going to be made this week to agro-dealers,’’ he said.
While stressing on the his expectations of the Federal Government to re-introduce the GES electronic-wallet system for direct allocation of inputs to farmers, the national chairman confidently confirmed that it had settled the debt it inherited under GES scheme.
“I understand that the minister did not want to do the GES because of the debt they met but now that the debt will be settled, it is the right time to pursue the GES.
“We are appealing that the GES should commence with this rainy or dry season farming.
“There is no system that you will bring that will not be marred by irregularities but you just have to fine-tune it.
“As you go along, you continue to correct it until you perfect it”said Umar-Fara.
Maintaining that farmers in the country are still supportive of the initiative of the GES, he asserted that no system can be perfect at the starting point until it is naturally perfected over the years.
He also confirmed that the GES scheme was different from the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative.