The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, says Parliament must urgently probe the government’s fertilizer subsidy programme which he believes is currently not serving its intended purpose.
He said the programme has been fraught with many inefficiencies, and had become costly with very low returns.
“I filed an urgent question on Friday for the Agric Minister to explain because he is the one responsible for farmers getting fertilizers. I think that Parliament must investigate the subsidy programme to find out what has been the pricing arrangement and payment regime. You have a situation where input suppliers supply inputs and get paid 2 years after,” he said on The Big Issue on Saturday.
The legislator said due to the current nature of the programme including the government’s delay in paying them, suppliers tend to inflate the price of the fertilizers and other inputs to make up for accrued interests on loans they use to undertake the contract.
He said while the subsidy programme which is aimed at boosting the Planting for Food and Jobs programme is laudable, it is not efficient.
“It is not an efficient way of going about it… There is sometimes what appears to be a laudable national policy but a policy that lends itself to a behaviour where everybody cashes in on the state, in the end, you will have any prudent finance minister getting fed up,” he said.
Mr. Ayariga said several farmers across the country are being affected by the unavailability of fertilizers due to the high indebtedness to fertilizer suppliers, and that is a source of grave concern.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, is reported to have expressed concern about the future of the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme due to the huge debt owed partners of the programme including input suppliers.
According to Graphic, the Minister said importers of fertiliser under the PFJ were under siege by their financiers because out of GH¢940 million owed dealers in fertiliser and other subsidies since the beginning of last year, the government had been able to pay only GH¢250 million.