SENATE QUERIES AGRIC MINISTER OVER FERTILIZER PROCUREMENT
The senate committee on agriculture yesterday said it is unconstitutional for the Minister of Agriculture and Rural development Professor Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah to have ordered that the money from the strategic fund should be accessed to procure fertilizer for 2010 without waiting for the amount to be appropriated in the budget.
The minister said the ministry was constrained to access the fund because the appropriation for fertilizer was late as a response to observation made by Senator Simeon Ajibola that some agencies of the Ministry were spending money outside what was appropriated in the budget or before the budget is appropriated and are also hoarding unspent monies instead of returning it to the national treasury.
The committee lead by Senator Andrew Babalola yesterday visited the Ministry as part of its oversight function to assess the level of budget implementation of the money appropriated to the Ministry in the National budget.
Senator Babalola said the senate would continue to into the 2009 supplementary budget which was not sent to them because the committee is not yet satisfied with its level of implementation and may call the minister to the senate chambers to give further explanation.
'Spending money outside the appropriation or warehousing money is unconstitutional and illegal in any ministry,' says Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima.
Senator Adamu Waziri also asked the minister to ensure proper monitoring of fertilizer distribution because the product is not getting to local farmer are instead being diverted to various markets for sale at high cost to the farmers.