The Nigerian Federal Government says it has commenced payment of agro-dealers and suppliers Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) claims for the 2014/2015 farming season.
Mr Ohiare Jatto, Director, Farm Input Support Services Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, that N12.5 billion was approved for the part-payment of the claims.
Jatto said that although the N12.5 billion only covered agro-dealers and suppliers claim for the 2014/2015, the money for the 2016/2017 dry season farming would be paid as soon as the 2017 budget was assented to.
“We have not started paying them for the 2016/2017 claims. We will commence that as soon as the budget is signed by the President.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Kabiru Umar, the National Chairman of the Growth Enhancement Scheme Agro-dealers Association of Nigeria (GESAAN), confirmed the payment.
Umar said that out of the N12.5 billion, N10 billion was meant to also settle claims of suppliers while N2.5 billion was for the agro-dealers.
The national chairman said that the government was yet to commence the payment of their 2016/2017 dry season claims.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently settle the balance of their money to encourage them and keep them in business especially during the wet season farming.
“They have started paying us but we want them to pay the balance soon,’’ he said.
NAN reports that agro-dealers and suppliers on May 2 staged a peaceful protest asking the Federal Government to urgently settle their outstanding GES N39 billion claims.
The GES scheme was launched to provide support directly to farmers, to enable them to procure agricultural inputs at affordable prices, at the right time and place.
It is also geared toward changing the role of government, from direct procurement and distribution of fertiliser to a facilitator, and regulator of the commodity’s quality and catalyst for active private sector participation in the fertiliser value chain.