Why farmers might not get subsidised fertiliser


Why farmers might not get subsidised fertiliser
File image of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. PHOTO| COURTESY

Even before the dust settles on a scandal that saw crafty traders milk the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) billions of shillings, the Agriculture Ministry is in the middle of another crisis.

Two days after the Agriculture Ministry hinted at the possibility of the government failing to purchase subsidized fertilizer for farmers, Citizen TV has established that Attorney General Paul Kihara had indeed advised the ministry not to proceed with the procurement of close to 150,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer.

The AG cited failure to adhere to procurement procedures when an initial tender was issued in 2017, pointing out that the taxpayer could lose billions of shillings if the ministry goes ahead to procure fertilizer.

“I have said once again that we should be prepared if there will be no subsidy fertilizer. We have challenges in procurement which we can overcome that,” said Kiunjuri in a press address.

Citizen TV has established indeed Kiunjuri’s warning came on the heels of an advisory from the office of the Attorney General, which reads in part; “We advise that the ministry considers alternative options to procure the required fertilizer in accordance with the law.”

 

According to this advisory, orders placed for the procurement of subsidized fertilizer had discrepancies and could have led to taxpayer losing unspecified amount of money.

As per the information provided on the advisory, the government has a two-year contract with the Export Trading Company Limited to supply imported fertiliser and the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities to supply some local blends.

The contract expires on January 11, 2019 and it is believed that the government still owes the company billions of shillings from the fertilizer delivered last season.

The ministry had plans to renew the contract for a further one year in order to import about 150,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers for the planting season ahead.

But the Attorney General has pointed out loopholes in the procurement process that saw the company win the tender to supply fertilizer to the NCPB two years ago.

According to Kihara, the tender evaluation report that provides sufficient details of the technical and financial evaluation of the bids leading to an award to the winning bidder was not enclosed.

The advisory points at what it calls discrepancies in the tender numbers in various documents.

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Story By Enock Sikolia
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