Saturday, November 29, 2008

Magande condemns inclusion of civil servants in FSP

Magande condemns inclusion of civil servants in FSP
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, November 29, 2008 4:26:13 PM

FORMER finance minister Ng’andu Magande on Thursday said the inclusion of civil servants as eligible beneficiaries in the government-funded Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP), is disadvantaging the peasant farmers. And Chasefu FDD member of parliament Chifumu Banda has asked the government to drill water points in the Eastern Province following the vigorous support they gave to the MMD during the last presidential election campaign.

During the oral question and answer session in Parliament, Magande, who is Chilanga member of parliament, stood on a point of order and asked deputy Speaker Mutale Nalumango to rule whether agriculture minister Dr Brian Chituwo was in order to commence the distribution of FSP inputs without specifying who the beneficiaries were.

Magande also wanted to know if Dr Chituwo was in order to issue a ministerial statement in the course of the week where he was urging the distribution of more fertiliser.

“Last night, I saw him on TV instructing one of the companies to start distributing,” he said. “There is confusion in my constituency between the civil servants and small, vulnerable but viable farmers. They are now going to get the fertiliser and the peasant small-scale farmers are being clouded out of the process, which is a very good government programme.”

Magande wondered if it was fair that such a well-intended public programme could end up benefiting non-vulnerable people, who were already rich.

“Is he (Dr Chituwo) in order?” asked Magande as the opposition side applauded him and told him that he had come back with a bang.

But Nalumango said she had not seen any contradiction between Dr Chituwo’s ministerial statement and the situation on the ground regarding the distribution of FSP inputs.

“The ministerial statement was on the distribution of fertiliser,” she said. “The chair is also careful to say that she did not watch the minister to give the instructions.”

Nalumango said in view of that, it would be like operating in a vacuum to make a ruling on the matter.
However, Nalumango was in order to give the House the fact that fertiliser had been distributed.

And making an observation of the low number of boreholes in Lundazi despite the pursuit made by parliamentarians from the area to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Banda said they had campaigned for the MMD during the elections.

But local government minister Benny Tetamashimba said the distribution of boreholes would not be based on who campaigned for the ruling party as the MMD government was for everyone, including the PF.

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