KRI chief executive officer Dr Frank Kayula says government should consider dismissing management at Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) if they have failed to meet their intended fertilizer output targets.
In an interview, Dr Kayula, the former National Small-Scale Farmers Union president, said the government should question whether or not NCZ was capable of producing the intended amount of fertilizer to help in the distribution of farming inputs.
In the last sitting in Parliament, Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo told the House that NCZ had no capacity to produce the intended 15,000 metric tonnes of basal (D Compound) fertilizer that was needed in the 2020 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) despite the company assuring government that it would meet the target.
“We must question the management of Nitrogen Chemicals; do they have the capacity or we throw them away completely and privatize the institution? It appears like it is a semi-government organization; it is always failing and getting back to government; getting back to get money on many beautiful things relating to development like hospitals, education, agriculture itself is another form. So, it is questioning the management of NCZ; have they managed or they have failed?” Dr Kayula wondered.
He, however, maintained that funding still remained a challenge for the struggling parastatal.
“You are aware that our government doesn’t have enough money so, yes, funding should be one of them (challenges), but also it is the fact that these things whom you give, give you back something. Unfortunately, it is a trend that must be arrested if we have to be developed as a nation. But we still continue to entertain this rubbish because ‘I have given this one and this one is going to give back to me, let me lobby that I cut from Nitrogen Chemicals and give these.’ I am hoping that is not what happened, really; I am hoping that Nitrogen Chemicals, themselves, said that ‘we did not have capacity.’ What it entails [is] that those giving fertilizer distribution, they didn’t know the capacity of Nitrogen Chemicals; how did they give them something that is beyond the capacity of Nitrogen Chemicals?” wondered Dr Kayula.
“For me, I question the leadership at NCZ. We should have allowed a situation where the leadership at NCZ should say ‘we don’t have capacity so we are surrendering part of the allocation’, but it appears like they still have the capacity. Nitrogen Chemicals appears to have the capacity because they even complained initially that, ‘what we have been given is small’. How did the capacity go down later on? We should have waited for Nitrogen Chemicals themselves to say ‘we do not have the capacity’, not someone else saying on their behalf.”