Reps to probe N2trn agriculture intervention funds 

Elizabeth AtimeJuly 3, 20244 min

The House resolved to probe alleged reckless spending of N2trillion on various interventions in the agriculture sector in the last 8 years

Rep Chike Okafor on agriculture funding
Rep Okafor

The House of Representatives passed a resolution on Tuesday to investigate alleged embezzlement of  agricultural intervention funds by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.

The probe will also focus on schemes and intervention programmes outside of the ministry of agriculture and food security.

This was sequel to a motion brought by Rep. John Chike Okafor (APC, Imo) titled “Alleged Mismanagement Of Government Agricultural Initiative And Funding By Departments, Agencies And Government Programs Outside The Federal Ministry Of Agriculture And Food Security”

Growing concern over food scarcity…

The House frowned at the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria and the alleged mismanagement of public funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

The lawmaker in his lead debate pointed out that “the federal government, through various schemes and interventions in the last eight years have spent over two trillion naira in funding agricultural interventions with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians, but due to the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programs, Nigeria is still experiencing food scarcity and malnutrition.

He also said “the reports and allegations of abuse, mismanagement, and misapplication of government intervention funds earmarked for agricultural development and food security initiative in Nigeria through the: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) disbursed about ₦1.12 trillion to 4.67 million farmers involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors; the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) disbursed ₦215,066,980,274.52 so far to facilitate agriculture and agrobusinesses.”

He argued further that the “Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed ₦3 billion naira to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value chain financing (AVCF) programme. Additionally, the bank also funded 49 agro and food processing businesses with N 59.4 billion in loans. In 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria unveiled a 5 billion naira loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country. The National Agricultural Development Fund in March of 2024 inaugurated a ₦1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT) for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions.”

Furthermore, he stated that the funds advanced to end users of the various interventions have also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channeled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes, hence the current acute scarcity of food. 

Additionally, he explained that the agriculture sector plays a crucial role in ensuring food security, improving nutrition, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians, and any abuse of the programs and schemes of the Government drastically affects millions of innocent citizens. 

Presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, mandated the House committee on nutrition and food security and the committees on agricultural production and services; agricultural colleges and institutions and finance to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged misuse of the funds and report back to the House within four legislative weeks for further actions.

STAR Check: Nigerians, especially constituents of Rep. Chike Okafor, can track his legislative activities and achievements here

PHOTO Credit: Premium Times

Elizabeth Atime

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