NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – The Ministry of Agriculture has once again found itself on the spot after the Treasury blamed it for the excess importation of maize during last year’s open window period.
National Treasury Chief Administrative Secretary Nelson Gaichuhie revealed to Senate Ad-hoc Committee that the government lost over 15 billion shillings between May and October 2017 following the importation of maize duty free by traders.
Gaichuhie said that the Agriculture Ministry is to blame for failure to specify importation quantity.
“Our role is to give money according to the budget presented to us and the Agriculture Ministry is the one that gave that order for traders to bring in products duty free so what I would say is that the ministry was a bit careless for not indicating the quantity,” said Gaichuhie.
“To be honest, we lost a lot of money which would have been part of revenue. Traders definitely took advantage and imported excess maize and that is why we are having all these problems.”
He further stated that Treasury received a request from the Agriculture Ministry last week to give more money to pay farmers.
The committee further learnt that some traders posed as farmers and imported maize during the open window which they sold to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at Sh3,600 per 90kg bag.
The committee members faulted both ministries accusing them of failure to follow the law regarding importations.
The Committee Chair Senator Margaret Kamar has however resorted to invite CS Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri Thursday to shed light on maize importation and the issues surrounding payment of maize farmers.
Last Saturday during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kakamega County, President Kenyatta issued a stern warning to CS Kiunjuri to deal with cartels who are pocketing money meant for maize farmers or else he will face problems.