Parliament Angered By $3 Billion Swallowed By Command Agriculture Between 2017 And 2018
The Daily News reports that the Ministry of Lands And Agriculture allocated $3 Billion to the controversial command agriculture in less than a year and the money vanished through the system which has, in turn, angered parly. This came out after the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee was questioning the ministry over the findings of Auditor Chiri’s report.
Zimbabwe will this year import close to 800 000 tonnes of maize because of the erratic rains received during the 2018/2019 rain reason despite $3 Billion being disbursed by the ministry to boost food security in the previous seasons. It is said that some funds allocated to command agriculture were looted by some politically connected service providers.
The committee asked two officials from the Lands and Agriculture ministry why they failed to provide supporting documents for the $3 Billion for the program. The duo instead pointed the finger at the treasury department which was said to have forced them to embrace treasury bills which were paid to unknown suppliers. The committee also asked the duo from the ministry about the following:
- $16 million dollars in loans given to contractors through the import substitution scheme that was never recovered.
- 9 vehicles supplied by Sakunda to the ministry whose registration books were missing
- $1 million worth of vehicles from Solution Motors that were not yet received since December 2017.
- Why 36 tractors, 30 vehicles and 300 motorbikes received through a grant from China were not registered in the ministry’s books
Tendai Biti who is part of the committee when he was commending about the issue said:
How do you pay, 1.3 Billion and 1.4 Billion to a ministry that doesnt know anything about it…US $3 Billion and no documentation in less than a year and the national budget is $4 Billion.
Command Agriculture since its inception was President Mnangagwa’s brainchild.