The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has debunked the purported claim by a civil rights group, Centre for Social Justice, that it entered into a contractual agreement on egg production in the country.
In a statement issued to THISDAY, the ministry stated that no contract was awarded to any company or business organisation for the purpose of egg production, insisting it only signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth N25 billion on National Egg Production (NEGPRO) scheme, with Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited.
The statement however advised Nigerians to disregard the threat and outbursts of a group acting under the pretext of fighting in public interest by trying to sue the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, over a purported N25 billion egg production contract he was said to have awarded to a firm.
The statement added that NEGPRO scheme involves many farmers who are in the business of egg production, stressing that the selection of Tuns Farms to lead the group of farmers was based on certain criteria, essentially anchored on the track records of performance.
According to the statement, under the terms of the deal, Tuns Farms will recommend eligible entrepreneurs to access the N25 billion facility as well as endorse their loan requirements and application, and monitor their activities within the scheme.
It added that the Bank of Industry (BOI) has a role in providing finance for the takeoff of the scheme an initiative aimed at increasing egg production in the country to about 50 million table eggs daily by 2018, stating that the scheme, which would be funded by BoI, would create one million jobs at full capacity.
” As said by the chairman of Tuns Farms, Chief Tunde Badmus, during the MoU signing ceremony: “The beauty of it is that the loan under this programme is single digit, so we are not paying any higher interest due to the support from the Ministry of Agriculture. So, with that, to create one million employments to produce about 50 million eggs and also to have sufficient eggs and both eggs for the school children meal in the country, and that is what it is all about. And to make sure that every local government is made to be able to produce eggs in the school children programme.”
chairman of Tuns Farms,
The statement also gathered that under this private sector~led initiative, the company will recommend standard specifications and costing for the scheme, monitor activities of entrepreneurs involved in the scheme, support Boi through the National Technical Committee in the selection process of commercial banks to disburse and recoup the N25 billion anchor borrower facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as select entrepreneurs and stakeholders across the country for recommendation to the Technical Committee for final ratification and appointment to participate in the scheme.
”It is therefore surprising that a group, having nothing to do with agriculture, and having no knowledge of the NEGPRO scheme, would concoct allegations and choose to sue the minister on pages of newspaper and on social media to gain attention and sympathy. It needs to be emphasised that the said civil rights group is not working in the interest of social justice but on a self-serving mission for some disgruntled interest groups, hiding behind a facade of civil rights activism,” the statement said.