Business News of 2014-06-25

Gov’t defaults in paying for subsidized fertilizers

Citi business news has learnt that government has defaulted payments for suppliers of subsidized fertilizers since 2012. This has led to the suspension of fertilizer supply to fruit and vegetable farmers across the country, as suppliers demand for their outstanding arrears.

Some farmers have gone out of business due to high cost of inputs and lack of support from government. According to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado, government is working on paying the arrears by close of week.

“The problem we are having currently where fertilizers are not reaching farmers right now is because we owe arrears to suppliers from 2012, we haven’t paid and the companies are no more ready to participate in the subsidy program. It is an issue I’m taking up with the minister of finance and the president”, he said.

According to Mr. Humado, government will consider all options including suspension of the fertilizer subsidy program. Meanwhile Producers of Fresh Fruit Juice, Blue Skies Ghana Limited has confirmed it is now sourcing for fruits and vegetables from Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire for its production.

This follows a significant drop in the supplies in Ghana. Speaking on the Citi breakfast show on June 23, the public relations manager for blue skies Ghana Limited Alistair Djimatey said, “For the past two years we’ve had challenges with raw material and we have to beef up our supplies from other countries”.

He denied reports that the company laid off 400 workers in the last quarter of 2013. This allegation was contained in an article published by the Member of Parliament for Obuasi West Constituency, Kwaku Kwarteng.

According to the MP, the worsening economic situation in the country had compelled blue skies and other companies in the mining sector to lay off the workers to stay in business. But Mr Djimatey assured, the company has no plans to lay off workers.

“Currently we are amongst the topmost company employing people and we have no plans now, as we speak to lay-off workers, maybe business circumstances could change at anytime but as we speak we have no plans to lay off workers”.

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