Cellulant Nigeria Limited, the firm that executes the electronic wallet programme of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS), has disclosed that the programme held the government to save over $192m in 2012.
According to details made available last week, the money was saved by federal and state governments in 2012 after over 1.2 million farmers received subsidised fertilizers, seedlings and other relevant farm inputs under the scheme. The saving was realised because of the effective targeting and accounting that the e-wallet scheme provided.
An analytical white paper on the project showed that Cellulant effected $294m worth of subsidies disbursements on behalf of federal and state governments into the wallets of farmers. While farmers used $52m of the subsidy deposits, agro-dealers received $50m as matching funds from farmers leaving about $192m of unused funds.
The sum, which potentially might have been lost to corruption, under the old scheme was returned back to Government coffers for season.
Chief Executive Officer, Cellulant Nigeria, Mr. Goke Akinboro, noted in a press statement that it was a landmark success for the firm to have achieved so much within a short time.
“We are indeed satisfied that we have helped start a revolution in the agricultural sector in Nigeria by bringing in seemingly simple and practical technology solutions which have helped address age-long problems in the sector. We believe that this is the beginning of great things to come and we can only improve in the years ahead,” he said.
Akinboro noted that while the savings made were great, the greater satisfaction his firm has is the fact that farmers in Nigeria actually benefited from the government subsidy programmes directly.
He added that with a new planting season just around the corner, Cellulant would work to ensure that more farmers are made to participate in the scheme this year so that the expectation of bringing 20million farmers into the scheme could be met very quickly.
It will be recalled that the e-wallet programme under the Growth Enhancement Support scheme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development kicked off in May 2012.
The programme replaced the old fertilizer and seedlings distribution method, which the Federal Government handled through middlemen, states and local governments.