The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji, has said that the careful and committed implementation of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative by the Federal Government and the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria has eliminated the conduits in the product’s subsidy programmes through which previous governments were defrauded of billions of naira annually.
Orji, who spoke in Abuja, also noted that the PFI had also significantly improved the quality of fertilizer available to Nigerian farmers, a development he said had also helped to improve yield, thereby increasing the income of agro businesses.
He said that the PFI had been the biggest single investment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund manager, adding that if sustained, the country was on a sure path to food security.
Orji stated, “This is the single biggest investment the NSIA has ever made, but I am glad to report that it has been successful. In one singular action, the fraud in the fertilizer distribution programme of the government has been eliminated from the system by eliminating subsidy along the line. There is no subsidy in the current programme.
“In the past, the subsidy was a conduit where someone would sweep all the money and pretended to have imported fertilizer, when there was really nothing, but this PFI programme has changed it all.”
He noted that through the PFI, fertilizer had become available and affordable, adding that with increased capacity utilisation and opening of new blending plants in different parts of the country, the Federal Government was sure to achieve its target of food security, thereby saving billions of naira that would have gone into importation and the associated leakages.
“Fertilizer was available at less than 50 per cent of the price a year before. It was N11,000 a bag and we were selling to the end users at N5,000. So, we have already cut the price by over 50 per cent. Secondly, we have sold the highest quantity of fertilizer ever distributed through a government programme. The year before was less than 200,000 metric tonnes sold, but we did 500,000 metric tonnes for 2017. There is abundance and it is cheap,” the NSIA CEO said.