By Aisha Amidu, MANA
Various ministries — Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Information, Civic Education and National Unity, Transport and Public Works and Homeland Security — are now working together to protect the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) following allegations that there is abuse of resources in different areas where the programme has been allocated.
Updating journalists at a press briefing held on Thursday, Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe said with the joint forces, the ministry is positive that AIP will yield progressive results.
“Currently, the AIP programme is on 7% amidst the challenges that the ministry was facing,” Lowe said.
“We are hopeful that before the rainy season starts the resources will have reached thousands of areas since they are many hands working.
He added that government is ready to terminate the contracts of the suppliers that are not doing their work accordingly and brought to book vendors who are buying national IDs from farmers.
“We are aware that other companies are selling under weighed 50 kilograms of fertilisers, the ministry is ready to bring to book all the culprits and terminate the contract of any supplier who will be found doing these malpractices,” Lowe said.
He also said that the number of the beneficiaries might be reduced due to duplication and deaths that has befallen among some beneficiaries.
Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako said there will be significant progress since all the problems which were being encountered due to communication and networking have been sorted out.
“For instance, the internet protocol address which was bringing communication problems among suppliers has been sorted out as well as the software that create the interface with the hosts, suppliers as well as companies have required gadgets that are used in AIP,” Kazako said.
Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo said they are working tirelessly in issuing awareness campaign so that people in villages should report to right authorities whenever they have come across AIP malpractice.
“Through the awareness campaigns we have conducted in different areas, we will be able to trace down the areas where such misconducts are happening as the beneficiary will be linking with us directly through the free line of 3013 which has been given,” Mtambo said.
The AIP is expected to benefit 4.2 million less privileged people which include the elderly, those living with disabilities orphans and many more.