FARM input agents will soon start receiving payments for their claims on which the government is finalising verification, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced here yesterday.
The Premier told the National Assembly that the amount that the government owes to the agents had been reduced to 6bn/- from 36bn/-, thanks to tight verification, which revealed that the amount had been inflated by 29bn/-.
“We will clear all the debt but it is critical to verify the claims... the work continues and we are in the final stages. It has so far been established that out of the 36bn/- lodged claims, only 6bn/- is genuine,” Mr Majaliwa said in his answer to a question from Devota Minja (Special SeatsChadema) who wanted to know when the government will pay the farm input agents.
He decried dishonesty in the supply of subsidised inputs, saying the government was compelled to halt the payments, pending verification. He said the government would take stern disciplinary and legal measures against civil servants found to have colluded with the agents to inflate the claims.
“Stern measures will be taken against all government servants who were involved in the scam,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the genuine claims will be cleared.
Mr Majaliwa said May 31 was the deadline for the verification, hinting that the authentication report has been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries for final processing.
Last April, the Premier suspended Assistant Director of Inputs in the Ministry of Agriculture Shenal Nyoni over alleged inflation of farm input costs. The director is alleged to have colluded with agents to inflate the costs of agricultural inputs for personal gains.
The premier announced the suspension at his meeting with agricultural inputs agents and officials from the ministry. The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, William Ole Nasha said in Parliament last month that about 28bn/- debt the government owes farm input agents in eight regions was mere forgery.