N40bn outstanding payment: We may not participate in GES — Agro-dealers

The 2016/2017 Growth Enhancement Support (GES), Scheme may suffer setback as agro-dealers have said they won’t participate if their balance of over N40 billion is not paid.

It would be recalled that successive government entered into agreement with agro-dealers to supply farm inputs to farmers under the GES scheme, the agro-dealers were owed about N61 billion from the farm inputs that was supplied to the farmers, the present administration pledged to complete the payment with an initial commitment of N20 billion which was about 35 per cent of the total.

The N41 billion balance according to the agro-dealers will disrupt the commencement of the 2016 dry season GES and the 2017 wet season GES.

According to the National Chairman of the Growth Enhancement Scheme Agro-dealers Association of Nigeria (GESAAN), Kabiru Fara, if the GES commence without the balance payment made, the process will suffer setback.

“If we start, we don’t have enough money, if they pay us our outstanding payment, we will be able to complete the 2016 GES, we will be able to buy things with our money, but we don’t have money and the government is not forthcoming, that’s why we have issues.

“The suppliers are not going to give us inputs on credit, we solicited for government intervention to ensure that suppliers come to our aid, if they come to our aid and give us stocks, we will continue, but if they don’t come to our aid, where our money finish, we will stop there,” he explained.

Fara further said the agro-dealers was still going to give the farmers inputs on credit “the farmer will bring his contribution, the intervention from government have to wait for reconciliation.

“So, we will do the little one our money can carry, if our outstanding payment comes, we will continue, but if it didn’t come, we will stop.”

When asked what exactly was delaying the outstanding payment from being paid, Fara said “they said they are solving a documentation issue, when they finish, they will forward the documents to ministry of finance, now if that happens, we expect our payment in two weeks time, if the money is paid, we will use that same money to buy stocks and settle our suppliers.”