Business News of 2014-06-27

Settle fertilizer subsidy for 2013 - President instructs

President John Mahama has instructed the Ministry of Finance to settle the government’s share of the 2013 fertilizer subsidies' debt with companies that brought in fertilizers for distribution to farmers in the three northern regions.

Government has not been able to pay-off its share of 50 per cent of the subsidy of fertilizers absorbed for farmers for last year, and this has compelled the distribution companies to hold back their fertilizer supplies for this year.

The companies are, therefore, waiting on government to settle last year’s debt before they would supply again for this cropping season, Mr. Dominic Azumah, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development has said.

"Government is fully committed to settling its share of the subsidy as quickly as possible for the companies to start carting fertilizers up north for the farmers to increase food production," Mr. Azumah assured.

Mr. Azumah was responding to questions from traditional rulers, assembly members, heads of government Department and Agencies as well as a cross section of the public when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development visited the Nandom District Assembly on Wednesday.

The Committee, which has the responsibility of supervision of all matters affecting the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, was in Nandom to meet with assembly members to find out how the assembly was progressing, and also know of its challenges with the view to addressing some of them.

On the challenges of the demarcation of the Nandom District, Mr. Azumah said that was not peculiar to the Nandom Assembly alone, but a common phenomenon with many of the district assemblies.

He said the Local Government Ministry was in the process of forming a Committee, under the Chief Lands Officer and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and other special agencies to look into the demarcation of boundaries of the assemblies.

Mr. Azumah announced that the Local Government Ministry has recruited 1,150 critical personnel for the various district assemblies to help provide quality work.

He said 25 million Euros has been secured for the procurement of earth-moving machines, including Tipper Trucks and other equipment, for supply to the 46 newly created district assemblies to help improve on the road sector, especially the construction of feeder and link roads from the communities to the district capitals.

This, he said would also facilitate the movement of people, goods and services at the local level to promote businesses and enhance productivity.

The Parliamentary Select Committee’s Chairman advised the assemblies to legally acquire lands to construct offices for the newly created assemblies to enhance their operations.

Mr. Azumah announced that the Road Fund law would be amended, and new laws put in place to decentralize the operations of the fund to ensure effective maintenance of roads in Ghana.

The disbursement of the Road Fund would come with a new formula when the law is amended to ensure that the various district assemblies take full responsibility of the development of roads in the communities.

About deduction on the District Assemblies Common, he said, unless an assembly pass a resolution for the purchase of equipment on its behalf, no deduction would be made on the assembly’s share of the fund again.

The Nandom Naa representative, Mr. D.Z. Chemogoh appealed to government to pay attention to the Jirapa-Nandom and Lawra-Nandom roads, as well as the Kamba Dam for the people to promote all-year round agricultural production.