At a recent stakeholders forum of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) programme, the Chief of Service Delivery (CSD), Cellulant Nigeria Limited, Gbenga Owolabi, has said that six states are to kick start the commencement of the 2016 (GES) programme.
He said that the GES will commence in some selected centers in six states of the federation, including Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Imo, Zamfara and Rivers.
The forum which was graciously attended by dignitaries within the Agric sector including the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Chairman of Growth Enhancement Supoort Agrodealers Association of Nigeria (GESAAN), Alhaji Kabiru Umar Fara amongst others, Mr. Owolabi stated that “for this year’s programme, since we are starting with selected centres we are ready, but we are not yet ready to cover all the redemption centres in the country. If we start with some selected centres, as the weeks go by, we can add more to them. “What we have received so far are roll out packages from about six states of the federation, including Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Imo, Zamfara and Gombe. We intend to keep up with Katsina State.”
He noted that the programme this year was different from what had obtained in the past where there are shortfalls arising from falsification of figures in the programmes they had before.
“New measures have been put in place to make sure the credibility level is higher than what we had before. In some instances, agro dealers were giving stock of what they expected of what they have in their warehouses which are far away from the redemption centres, and what we expect is what is physically present in the redemption centres. It is from those that we can do a roll out. He added that in the 2016 GES, it is also expected that every farmer must have a phone as a means of identification and confirmation that indeed there is redemption, stressing that no room amymore for offline transactions as we discovered in the time past where there was an abuse of the programme and people claimed there was no network.
“For the 2016 programme, we have also incorporated the services of telecoms service providers, Airtel, MTN, Etisalat and Glo such that they are providing inputs as to network availability in all the states, and also opened a system of communication wherein the absence of network is documented instead of having people to call in and tell us” Owolabi said.
On his part, the Chairman of GESAAN, Alhaji Fara noted that the essence of the forum is to flag off the commencement of 2016 GES programme. Fara said that GESAAN will ensure its continued support to the Federal Ministry of Agric as well as all other stakeholders.