The House of Representatives has begun investigation of funds donated by international organisations to finance projects in the agriculture sector amounting to over $1bn.
The probe by the House followed the adoption of a motion moved by Mr Awaji-Inombek Abiante titled ‘Call for Investigation of the Administration and Performance of Donor Assisted Agricultural Project Funds.’
Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services to “investigate the administration and performance of all donor funded agricultural projects, with a view to unearthing the problems associated with its inabilities to achieve its set objectives.”
The committee is to report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.
Speaking on the motion on Wednesday, Abiante said, “The House is aware that over the years, the Federal Government has been partnering and acquiring loans and grants from donor agencies such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the International Development Agency, to mention a few, with a view to improving agricultural production in the country.
“The House is also aware that over $1bn of the donor funds have been spent on various agricultural projects in Nigeria by the three tiers of government over the years.
“Since 1985, IFAD has financed 11 agricultural projects in the country with $509.62m, while several millions of dollars have also been committed to the implementation of FADAMA project by the World Bank since 1993.”
The lawmaker noted that the various agricultural projects were put in place with the aim of assisting Nigerian farmers, especially the rural ones with the funds needed to improve their agricultural ventures, making the country to meet the food demand of its fast growing population, guarantee food security, reduce oil dependency, diversify and grow the economy.
He said, “The House is worried that despite the laudable objectives of these agricultural projects and the humongous financial contributions of the international donors such as the World Bank, the IDA, the IFAD and the ADB over many years, the country is still grappling with the problem of food sufficiency and farmers’ prosperity.
“The House observes that the volume of funds channelled to Nigeria’s agricultural sector through these donor-funded projects over the years is so enormous that one wonders if the resources are well utilised and accounted for, especially when measured against observed results from the agencies.