CBN N1.5Bn Expenditure: Anambra Assembly Summons Agric Commissioner


The Anambra State House of Assembly Committee on Economic Planning, Sustainable Development Goals and Donor Agencies has expressed worry about the poor level of work done by contractors handling the construction of 600 (six hundred) fish ponds, hostel blocks and farm houses in Aguleri and Adazi Nnukwu communities.

To this end, the committee says it may be inviting the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, to appear before the House to explain how his ministry expended the N1.5 billion agricultural loan received from the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2020.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Ebere Ejiofor, stated this shortly after he led other members of the committee to oversight some of the projects awarded by the state government.

The law makers threatened to call for the revocation of the contracts following the slow pace and quality of work done in the two communities visited.

The Central Bank of Nigeria launched guidelines for the regulation of the Private Sector-Led Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme in order to boost private sector staple food production; industrial raw materials and support food security; job creation and economic diversification in the country in 2020.

The Apex Bank said in the bid to address food security and youth unemployment challenges across the country, AADS is to engage 370,000 (three hundred and seventy thousand) youths in agricultural production in collaboration with state governments.

In line with this, the Anambra State Government applied and collected N1.5 billion only for the sole purpose of fish and rice farming in some local government areas across the three senatorial zones of the state.

Contracts were awarded through the State Ministry of Agriculture for the construction of 300 fish ponds in Adazi Nnukwu in Anaocha Local Government Area to the tune of N75,250,000 and another 300 fish pond in Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area to the same amount o N75,250,000.00.

Contract was also awarded for the construction of 50 bed capacity hostel each in Aguleri and Adazi Nnukwu communities to the tune of N113,000,550.00 only.

Farm houses, entrance gates, perimeter fencing, and generator houses was also awarded for the two communities with a total amount of N122,179,200.85 only.

A document made available to the House Committee by the Ministry of Agriculture also showed that
N41,763,000.00 only was contractual sum for the construction of industrial boreholes to serve the two fish farm ponds.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Planning, SDG and Donor Agencies, Mr Ebele Ejiofor, representing Anaocha Constituency 1, after visiting the project sites, expressed displeasure with the work on ground, which he said was not commiserate with the amount so far released to the firms.

He expressed regret that the sum of N326,136,603.00 had been paid to contractors of N510, 320,285.00 being total sum of the projects in Aguleri and Adazi Nnukwu.

“This is a total failure, there is nothing to show that this amount of money has been released. Look at Adazi Nnukwu site, only 150 fish ponds have been done and its not properly done.

The work is not durable, they are using red mud to plaster walls of the generating house while that of Aguleri 50 bed hotel is still at foundation, and yet millions of naira have been released as claimed by the Commissioner for Agricultue.

“I think we will invite him to come and explain how such amount will be released with little or nothing to show on ground,” the Committtee Chairman fumed.

Another member of the committee, Mr Emmanuel Nwafor, representing Orumba South Constituency, described the quality of work as substandard.

He called for the revocation of the contracts, which he said was for the interest of the masses.

“From what we have on paper, they said forty percent of the work have been completed but what we are seeing here, the 300 bed capacity hostel is still under the ground, they have not even come to the DPC level.

“So I believe the Commissioner for Agriculture should be called to order so that he can answer some certain questions.

“We require the Commissioner to give us details of what have been going on, this project is supposed to have have been handed over to the people of Anambra State but look at where we are,” the lawmaker stated angrily.

The Managing Director, Anambra State Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Agency (FACDA), Mr Emeka Iloghalu, described the projects as life serving and a well thought out government project.

Iloghalu, however, expressed worry about the delay in the completion of the youth friendly initiative.

According to him, “FACDA is suppose to be the consultant to this project. FACDA made the Concept, design and structuring of the project.

“And according to the guideline of the CBN, the project management team was set up by His Excellency, the Governor of Anambra State and all the work was done.

“We are supposed to have finished but at the moment the Ministry of Agriculture, Honorable Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary are in the best position to provide the details of why this project is still at this stage.”

The Site Supervisor for one of the contractors handling the construction of the fish ponds in Aguleri, Farm Houses, entrance gates, fencing and generator houses in Adazi Nnukwu and Aguleri, Mr Chukwudi Okosie, who said though he didn’t have the details of the amount so far received, the project would be delivered in the next four months.

“I don’t actually have details for the amount of money that have been released. So I can’t compare if work on ground is up to the money but I believe we have been doing well.

“Our challenges are, during the rainy season, the road was too bad that sometimes we get stuck, to come down here becomes a problem.

“At times, we won’t even do any work, getting materials and bringing workers here is the main challenge we have.

“Secondly, the nature of this place, the floor was so bad that we could not get materials through especially at the back where we needed to put fence,” he claimed.

Contract was also awarded for the provision of two 75KVA power generating sets for the two fish ponds in the communities to the tune of N23,000,000.00 (twenty-three million naira) only.


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