New twist to rice palliative as agric ministry say they are constituency projects

Sharon EboesomiJanuary 10, 20244 min

The ministry’s director of information, Dr. Joel Oruche, has affirmed that the ministry is not responsible for providing the rice palliative which he described as constituency projects.

Agric Ministry responds to Rep Rotimi on Tinubu's rice pallitive

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has refuted rumours that it is holding up the delivery of rice that President Bola Tinubu reportedly gave to members of the National Assembly to distribute to citizens in their senatorial districts and federal constituencies.

Recall that lawmakers in the National Assembly have been under pressure from Nigerians following reports that the President had given bags of rice valued at N100 million and N200 million, respectively, to each member of the Senate and the House of Representatives to be distributed to their constituents during the holiday season

This followed a series of criticisms from Nigerians over the alleged failure to deliver the rice with many commentators accusing the lawmakers of hoarding the presidential largesse.

Also recall that the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Rep. Akin Rotimi (APC, Ekiti), had previously alluded that the delay in the delivery of the rice consignments was due to procurement delays in the ministry of agriculture and food security which is why some constituencies had received theirs while others were waiting to receive.

READ ALSO: Palliative funds do not come to Lawmakers – Reps

“The procurement process is at different stages depending on the constituency, but to be clear, no legislator has, nor will be given any money for palliatives. The procurement and distribution of the palliatives is being handled by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

“We must further clarify that the timing of the distribution is not in the hands of any Honourable Member. The entire process is under the control of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. Some constituencies have received theirs, while others are yet to be processed. We call for patience, as no constituency would be left behind,” he had said.

However, on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, the ministry in a statement by its director of information, Dr. Joel Oruche, affirmed that the ministry is not responsible for providing palliative and that the rice allocation was part of constituency projects that were budgeted for in the 2023 supplementary appropriation under the ministry’s purview.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is not distributing any palliative. The issue under reference concerns constituency projects budgeted for under the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation and domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

“It is common knowledge that funds for National Assembly constituency projects are domiciled in the relevant Ministry for purposes of implementation. Constituency projects in this instance cover a range of needs of the constituents including staple grains and some agricultural infrastructure as determined by respective members of the National Assembly,” he said.

Sharon Eboesomi

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