Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has recovered over $50 million from Command Agriculture beneficiaries, a figure that represents 70 percent of money loaned in the past three years, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.
He said the 30 percent beneficiaries who defaulted on repayment were now set to be blacklisted and no further assistance will be extended to them.
Prof Ncube said this in the National Assembly last week during a question and answer session.
Harare East Member of Parliament Mr Tendai Biti (MDC-Alliance) had asked how much Government had recovered from Command Agriculture between 2016 and 2018.
“Basically, the amount recovered for the season 2016 to 2018 is, out of 44 617 farmers is $50.2 million. For the season 2017 to 2018 for maize again, we had 35 756 farmers and the amount recovered was $19,7 million.
“Then for the wheat planting season of 2017, we have 2 270 farmers and what was recovered is US$13,7 million. Then for the wheat planting season for 2018, we have 74 847 farmers. For soyabeans for the season 2017/2018 from 2 041 farmers, it is US$1,5 million,” said Prof Ncube.
“It is true that certainly there is a delinquency rate of the order of 30 percent. We are blacklisting those who are defaulting for a start so that they are not getting loans and support going forward. Secondly, we are continuing to recover our money – we want our money back. That is the process that we have been following but they are also being blacklisted as well. There will not be beneficiaries going forward. We are only blacklisting those within that 30 percent from whom we have not managed to recover anything at all.”
Prof Ncube said he will soon bring to Parliament a Bill that seeks to condone unauthorized spending by the Government as it battled to finance various activities in the past five years. He was responding to a question from Mr Biti who wanted to know if Government would seek condonation from Parliament for overspending, a situation he said had widened budget deficit.
“I can confirm that I will bring to this august House, Bills of condonation and supplementary statements to basically condone the overspending that took place between the periods 2014 to 2018. I also confirm that I will bring to this House, again Bills of condonation for the violation of the rule for the overdraft facility of 20 percent of the previous year’s expenditure to this House for condonation,” said Prof Ncube.
Some legislators accused the Treasury head of violating the law by failing to get nod from Parliament before spending.
“I certainly have no intention of breaking the law and the Hon. Member is right that we should not break the law. So, I intend to comply with it and bring for condonation before this House a Bill and supplementary statements to deal with the overspending that was incurred between the period 2014 and 2018,” said Prof Ncube.