Govt still owes NCZ K24.4 million – Katambo

Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo says government currently owes Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) K24.4 million.

And Katambo has announced that a total of 93,478 metric tonnes of D-Compound and 65,751 tonnes of Urea fertilizer have been distributed to the targeted districts so far.

Speaking in Parliament, Tuesday, when he issued a ministerial statement, and responding to a written question from Kafue UPND member of parliament Mirriam Chonya, Katambo told the House that government owes NCZ K24.4 million in unpaid dues.

“Government owes NCZ a total of K24,368,288.88 and the government is committed to paying the debt owed to NCZ, and has been making monthly payments of K6 million. The debt owed to NCZ will be paid as and when funds will be made available as per contract,” Katambo announced.

Heo said NCZ has not commenced production of fertilizer because it was unable to acquire raw materials due to its debt owed to raw material suppliers.

“The NCZ has not commenced the production of fertilizer because it was unable to acquire role materials for the production of fertilizer. In addition, NCZ was also unable to acquire spare parts for repair and maintenance of the plant equipment and machinery. These challenges are as a result of unpaid debt owed to suppliers of raw materials and spare parts by NCZ. NCZ was not contracted to participate in the direct input supply because NCZ was not ready to participate in the programme due to the challenges highlighted,” Katambo added.

“I did indicate that there is supposed to be good will. Management at NCZ should also make a decision to participate. The companies that have been contracted to supply fertilizers where NCZ will be considered are Nerious Investments; Rock Lift Trading; Nyimba Investment and Zambian Fertilizer. So, NCZ has room, Madam Speaker, to participate in this farming season or in this implementation of the e-voucher FISP season.”

And Katambo announced that a total of 93,478 metric tonnes of D-Compound and 65,751 tonnes of Urea fertilizer have been distributed to the targeted districts so far.

“Under the direct supply of inputs, a total of 373,616 farmers in 54 districts will be serviced in preparation for the district supply of inputs to the farmers. Contracts for supply of D-Compound and Urea fertilizers have been awarded to four companies. To-date, a total of 93,478 metric tonnes of D-Compound and 65,751 metric tonnes of Urea fertilizers have been distributed to the targeted districts. I am delighted to state that all the fertilizer suppliers are currently delivering stocks to the designated districts. To-date, 65 per cent of D-Compound and 81 per cent of Urea fertilizer has been positioned in the targeted districts. The Ministry has also just completed the tender process for seed suppliers. A total of 10 seed companies have been engaged to supply assorted seed varieties to beneficiary farmers. All seeds stocks are expected to be in the districts by 31st October, 2018,” said Katambo.

“Madam Speaker, the other 64 districts, target beneficiaries will be serviced through the e-voucher system using card-less mechanism with all eligible agro-dealers participating in the input supply. A total of 626,384 farmers are targeted under the e-voucher system or the 2018/2019 agriculture season. Under the card-less system, farmer deposits will confirmed in the system and an electronic voucher, or code, will be generated and issued to the farmers. The Ministry has engaged seven banks and two non-banking institutions to participate during the 2018/2019 season.”

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