The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is yet to receive funds budgeted for in the 2013 budget, a deputy Director in charge of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluations Division of the ministry, Mr Daniel Ohemeng Boateng, has revealed.
That, he said was due to the fact that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning(MoFEP) approved just 39 per cent of MoFA’s request for GH¢ 745.83 million to be used to finance its activities in the 2013 financial year.
MoFA, which oversees the country’s agricultural sector, put up a budget of GH¢ 745.83 million as captured in the 2013 budget.
However, Mr Ohemeng Boateng said MoFEP approved only GH¢292.48 million, leaving a funding gap of GH¢ 452.75 million.
That notwithstanding, he said even the approved funds were yet to be released. “As we speak, operational funds we have received are only for the first quarter while the second quarter funds for 2013 are still awaiting approval from MoFEP.”
He, meanwhile, stated that salaries for staff were received every month while the district assemblies under the ministry had not received a dime for their operations.
The deputy director could not hide his disappointment about the rate of release of funds to the ministry for its operations at a budget advocacy workshop organised by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) with support from Star Ghana.
Bemoaning the woes of the sector further, he said the ministry still owed suppliers of fertilisers under the fertiliser and seed subsidy programme for last year, something which he said was very embarrassing.
“Also, payments to contractors of their irrigation projects were still outstanding for the year 2012”, he revealed.
He, however, explained that in spite of the lack of inflow of funds to the ministry, it would still pursue some strategies to ensure that it lived up to its billing of promoting and sustaining agriculture in the country.
Paramount among the strategies is to partner the private sector to develop the agricultural value chains as well as upscale credit support facilities for farmers in the value chain.
The ministry is, therefore, suggesting that the government set aside a separate fund for its fertiliser and seed subsidy programme to prevent the cost destabilising MoFAs budget as well as stifle funds for normal operations.
A discussant at the forum, Mr Philip Abayori, who is the National President of the Farmers and Fishermen award winners, called for an advocacy to ensure that authorities realised the need for support for the sector.
By Jessica Acheampong / Daily Graphic / Ghana
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