Some government appointees have been accused of supervising the smuggling of fertilizers into neighboring countries in a move that has caused losses amounting to $12 million.
The about 50,000 metric tonnes of the subsidized fertilizer was meant to be used under the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
The Food and Agriculture Committee of parliament in its report on the 2019 budget estimates of the Agriculture ministry indicated that fertilizers had been lost to smuggling especially to neighboring countries; Burkina Faso and Togo by some unscrupulous persons.
The Ranking member of the committee, Eric Opoku, alleges that some government appointees and NPP members are responsible for the loss.
“The minister before the committee alluded to the fact that 50,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer bought for the 2018 Planting for Food and Jobs programme was smuggled under their watch. This nation has lost $12 million through smuggling of fertilizer.
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But the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko said they cannot be blamed for the loss. He accused the Eric Opoku and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) of superintending over the crime for the last 8 years it was in power.
He said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government must rather be commended for its measures to reduce the incidents of smuggling.
“This has been going on for the past 8 years that they were in power and we were able to identify it. In 2017, we decided to put measures in place to make sure that it is reduced or make sure that we just alleviate completely,” he said.
Meanwhile, the committee report also observed that the allocation for 2019 to the Food and Agriculture Ministry for the purchase of fertilizer, was inadequate.
“Out of a total budget of GH?140, 930, 250.00 earmarked for the purchase of fertilizer for the year 2019, only GH?47, 726,216.80 has been provided for in the budget,” the report said.
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