Traders want urgent review of agric budget over ambiguities

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called for the immediate review of the 2019 proposed budget for the agricultural sector due to ambiguities and ‘opaque items’ contained therein.

President of the association, Mr Ken Ukaoha, said yesterday in Abuja that apart from the inconsistencies, the N137.9bn allocation for agriculture in the N8.8trn 2019 budget proposal is too low for any meaningful development in the sector.

He was speaking at the “Validation of analysis of the 2019 proposed budget for the Agriculture sector and its contribution to food security” organised by NANTS.

He, however, commended the present administration for succeeding, to a certain extent, in ensuring that extra-budgetary investments from sources like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers scheme, Nigeria Incentive Risk-Based Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), and other instruments that are not directly linked with annual budgets, have to a large extent, impacted positively on the planned economic diversification agenda and resulted in increased productivity in the agriculture sector along key value chains, like rice, cassava, millet, sorghum, ginger among others.

He said aside the role of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the Nigerian agricultural development, the association also observed that some of the line items that are described as capital allocations are unclear and do not qualify to be called capital projects in the budget.

He added that it would be logical to say that the proposed budget is not supposed to have a specific budget head for the implementation of “The Green Alternative” (which is the same as the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP).

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Source: Daily Trust

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