Following numerous false starts regarding the probe into how the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) was organised during the just-ended planting season, the announcement that the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development would finally get to the bottom of the issue comes as a welcome aside in a country where only bad news is good news.
There has been an outcry lately that the programme may have outlived its usefulness and that avaricious public officers and others have deviated Fisp from its intended goals.
A programme that was intended to serve the greater good has become a cash cow for a few greedy people. It has become addictive for the beneficiaries who were intended to graduate from it. For many across the country, it has become the burden they never asked for.
But something needs to change; hence, we view the decision by the committee to investigate the supply chain of the inputs as the beginning of a process to rationalise Fisp.
Questions abound about whether the country can sustain the Fisp, which has become, for all intents and purposes, a vanity project for some politicians.
But Fisp operates on our resources and they must be used prudently. And no time is more to get to the bottom of it than now. Parliament is currently in session and one of the decisions we expect it to make is about the scope and outlook of the 2018/18 Fisp. Does it take the same format that has been prone to abuse over the years? Or does the decision of the committee inform Parliament about what sort of guise the Fisp should wear from now henceforth?
Time is of essence and we expect the committee to have that at the back of their minds. We have had enough stories about Fisp; we need something different.
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