Cellulant Nigeria Limited, the company currently running the electronic wallet programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under the Growth Enhancement Support scheme has said that government saved over $192 million through the scheme in 2012.
According to details made available to our correspondent, weekend, the sum of 25 billion was the amount of money saved by the Federal and State Governments in 2012 after over 1.2million farmers had received subsidised fertilizers, seedlings or other relevant farm inputs under the scheme. This saving was realised because of the effective targeting and accounting that the E-wallet scheme provided.
An analytical white paper on the project showed that in dollar terms; Cellulant effected $294m worth of subsidies disbursements on behalf of the Federal and State Governments into the wallets of farmers. While farmers used $52m of the subsidy deposits, agro-dealers received $50m as matching funds from farmers leaving about $192m of unused funds. This sum, which potentially might have been lost to corruption, under the old scheme was returned back to Government coffers for the season.
Goke Akinboro, chief executive officer, Cellulant Nigeria, noted that it was a landmark achievement for the firm to have done so much within so little a time.
“We are indeed satisfied that we have helped start a revolution in the agricultural sector in Nigeria by bringing in seemingly simple and practical technology solutions which have helped address age-long problems in the sector.
We believe that this is the beginning of great things to come and we can only improve in the years ahead,” he said. Akinboro noted that while the savings made were great, the greater satisfaction his firm has is the fact that farmers in Nigeria actually benefited from the government subsidy programmes directly. He added that with a new planting season just around the corner, Cellulant will work to ensure that more farmers are made to participate in the scheme this year so that the expectation of bringing 20million farmers into the scheme could be met very quickly.
It will be recalled that the e-wallet programme under the Growth Enhancement Support scheme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development kicked off in May 2012. The programme replaced the old fertilizer and seedlings distribution method which the Federal Government handled through middlemen, states and local governments.
BEN UZOR JR