2016 budget ceiling for Ministry of Agriculture reduced by 39 per cent

The ceiling for preparation of the 2016 work plans and Budget under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has been reduced by 39 per cent.
Provincial Agricultural Coordinator, Obvious Kabinda confirmed the development during a live radio programme dubbed Budget Tracking on Breeze FM.
Dr. Kabinda says that this means that the province will be allocated about 12.6 million Kwacha, which is even lower than what the ministry received in the 2014 budgetary allocation.
He explained that in 2014, the ministry was allocated 25.6 million Kwacha while in the 2015 allocation it was given 41.4 million Kwacha.
Dr. Kabinda says that the provincial headquarters will have to budget within 2.9 million Kwacha while all districts in Eastern Province will share about 9.7 million Kwacha.
And Dr. Kabinda revealed that the ministry has this year only received about 1.4 million Kwacha from its allocation of 41.4 million Kwacha that includes personal emoluments.
He says that this has affected payments to contractors carrying out some projects although the matter cannot be described as desperate.
Dr. Kabinda says that the inconsistent release of funds could be attributed to what he described as big events that the Ministry of Agriculture has undertaken at national level like the National Agriculture and Commercial Show and International Trade Fare, which gobbled a lot of money.
He also says that the government last year spent more than what was budgeted for in the maize marketing exercise because it bought more maize to assist farmers.
Meanwhile Dr. Kabinda says that government has spent about 1.2 million Kwacha on drilling and equipping deep tanks across Eastern Province.
Meanwhile The Ministry of Agriculture says that government will not spend additional money on Mwase Dam, which was washed away in Lundazi district while being constructed.
Provincial Agricultural Coordinator, Obvious Kabinda says that government will only spend the 855,000 Kwacha contract sum.
Speaking on Budget Tracking Programme, Dr. Kabinda says that the dam collapsed even before it was handed over to government and that the contractor has agreed to remobilize and do the works all over again.
He however, says that the Ministry of Agriculture will be closely involved in monitoring the works by the contractor.
Meanwhile Dr. Kabinda has denied complaints from tobacco and cotton farmers that the Ministry of Agriculture is attaching more importance to maize farming than tobacco and cotton farming.
He says that government has to prioritize maize farming because it involves food security for the nation but also attaches value to the two sectors.
Dr. Kabinda explained that two weeks ago, Minister of Agriculture, Given Lubinda held a meeting with stakeholders to address challenges in tobacco farming.

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