Agriculture stakeholders allege re-emergence of fertilizer cabal
Stakeholders in the Agricultural sector have raised the alarm over the resurgence of cabal under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which was disbanded during the tenure of former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
This was just as they alleged that the federal government was about to be defrauded to the tune of N46 billion in a fertilizer production agreement entered into by the federal government of Nigeria.
The stakeholders, who are representatives of three groups the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), Organic Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (OFSAN), and Inorganic Fertilizer Suppliers and Producers Association of Nigeria (IFSPAN), made the disclosure while briefing newsmen at the National Assembly, Abuja.
Felix Okonti who led a four-man delegation said the cabal which regrouped under the present administration had perfected plans to monopolize the production and sales of fertilizer in the country following a recent partnership between the federal government and Morocco on chemical fertilizer production to boost agriculture in Nigeria.
Okonti alleged that a governor (names withheld) was a major player in plot to defraud the federal government, called on the Senate committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to immediately investigate the agreement between Nigeria and Morocco.
He went on: “The process leading to the signing of some of these Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) were not made known to most stakeholders, but we’re actually open to non-stakeholders out of the agric sector of our economy. Why is that so in this government of Change?
“The federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, the Senate and House of Representative committees on Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as stakeholders are in the dark while the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NISA) have been in the know with several secret meetings held. In whose interest is that level of non-transparency? And by our calculations, the federal government will be sleazed about N46 billion naira and the farmers will carry the brunt.”
He added that Central Bank and NIRSAL have since created the national anchor borrowers programme, while the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and its agencies and departments have been relegated to the background.
Okonti also lamented that the modalities for the attainment of the perceived benefits of these MOUS have remained non-transparent with a very negative tendency of creating fertilizer monopolies to detriment of the majority of stakeholders who have invested hugely in the inorganic and organic fertilizer business.
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