Finance minister Goodall Gondwe said government suspended the fertlizer loan programme conceived y former president Joyce Banda because it was ill conceived and the government is struggling to recover K12 billion.
Gondwe said this in parliament when leader of People’s Party in the House, Uladi Mussa asked Finance Minister to explain why the programme was discontinued despite being an alternative to the farm input programme.
“This was an ill conceived programme. It was done by the president’s office only, there was not even a budget for this,” said Gondwe.
He said out of K13 billion disbursed, only K2 billion has been recovered. The recovery mode was not good and we had to find other ways of recovering the money.
Gondwe however said it was a brilliant idea, though it was ill conceived, saying the Mutharika administration is looking at ways of how to improve the programme before it is rolled out again in the coming years.
However, Mussa said the Mutharika administration might have discontinued it on political reasons, urging the government to reconsider its position.
Gondwe also told the parliamentarians that the government is importing 30000 metric tonnes of maize and buying locally 22000 metric tonnes of maize because of harsh weather conditions.
The Finance Minister’s remark came after severe criticism from the opposition members of parliament on the government’s handling of food shortage and farm input programme which they said leaves a lot to e desired.
But Gondwe said the situation last year was beyond government control, saying the floods and drought worsened the situation.
He said South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are also importing maize.
However, the debate nearly went out of hand when Blantyre North MP Francis Phiso picked up a quarrel with Uladi Mussa, forcing Phiso to threaten the People’s Party leader that he would reveal the source of money for Mussa’s newly bought Area 43 house and that he was moving with bags of money in his car in the run up to the 2014 general election campaign.
Mussa did not respond.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :