Agric minister urges speedy passage of GES bill
MINISTER of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has called on the National Assembly for the quick passage of the Bill for an Act for the legislation of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme.
Adesina while commending members of the National Assembly for their wisdom in demanding legislation for the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme stated that the legislation would not only define roles and responsibilities of the system, but also clearly define a legal framework for constant and orderly implementation of the scheme.
Adesina, who said this yesterday in Abuja at a one-day stakeholders meeting on the draft bill for the consolidation of the scheme, said the legislation would as well prescribe appropriate remedial action to address any failure in the system.
“Having acknowledged the advantages and success recorded in the GES scheme, and in order to ensure its sustainability, the National Assembly members in their wisdom and in the interest they have for farmers in their respective constituencies called for a comprehensive legal framework that will institutionalize the scheme. Such legislation would not only define roles and responsibilities, but also prescribe appropriate remedial action to address any failure, but also clearly define the legal framework for a constant and orderly implementation of the scheme,” he said.
The minister, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser Dr. Martin Fregene, noted that the legislation would allow GES to continue, irrespective of the political party in power.
“GES must continue, irrespective of who is in power, this bill seeks to institutionalize the GES scheme and give it a life of its own, so that it will no longer be a discretionary programme,” Adesina added.
Adesina stated further “between 2012 and 2014, a total of 14 million farmers received subsidized farm inputs, using electronic vouchers on their mobile phones to directly pay private sector input retailers via the scheme”
Legal Consultant to the ministry, Yemi Akinseye George (SAN) noted that the draft bill, when passed into law stipulates a sanction of between one to three years imprisonment without an option of fine for defaulters.
Considering the fact that Nigeria’s food insecurity status keeps increasing and with the recent estimates, which puts the number of hungry people in Nigeria at over 13 million out of 842 million hungry people worldwide, Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan administration tries to ensure the food security situation of the country using relevant information and data collected from the
Internet, literatures, dailies, libraries, relevant federal ministries, National Bureau of Statistics and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, also ensures an innovative approach to fertilizer subsidy and other input administration through electronic system that ensures that only registered farmers’ benefit through engagement of the private sector in the delivery and distribution of fertilizer and other input directly to the farmers