Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed that it has no accurate records of all its agricultural assets like mechanised tools, lands, buildings, and cars purchased over the years, scattered across the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, who disclosed this in Abuja at an interaction meeting on monitoring and evaluation, mandated all zonal coordinators and directors to give account.
“We have enormous unutilised assets. We have buildings and lands everywhere. They are so many that you do not even know where they are. We cannot remember when we acquired them. Every zonal coordinator please document our assets across the country. It is very important to know where they are and we want to know the status of these assets. Leaving it like that is a misnomer. Those that are not working would be repaired.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Dandutse Muntari, said his committee would help the ministry recover the assets, adding that those in a dilapidated state would be repaired to create employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Muntari also said that fake farmers had hijacked the Anchor Borrowers Programme and have refused to pay their debt.
“The asset of the ministry is in a dilapidated state in most of the state and, I think if there is a proper evaluation a lot of them would be put into use and it would remedy the unemployment problem
“In actual sense, this issue needs to be all-inclusive because if you look at what is going on in terms of the Anchor Borrowers programme, it is not monitored and supported by the ministry. So, there is a need for posterity, the apex bank should collaborate with the ministry to ensure that even if it is a private association that is supported with funds the ministry should collaborate with everybody to ensure that those funds are allocated judiciously and spent accordingly.
“If you look at it, most of the farmers are fake and they are not even considering the plights of real farmers.”
Permanent Secretary Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu noted that the meeting would provide the ministry and zonal coordinators the opportunity to discuss how to improve the agricultural sector.
“The meeting will also assure that the headquarters as well as the zonal and state offices including other stakeholders in project implementation are on the same page with regard to expectations of the ministry on projects monitoring and evaluation in which the department of planning and policy coordination has a critical role to play.
“In addition, it will provide an opportunity for reflection on the present state of projects monitoring and evaluation in the ministry especially the delivery of 2019 capital projects and lay the foundation for improved projects monitoring in the current financial year.”