Government inherits Admarc maize loan
The government has inherited loan of about K22 billion which Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) obtained from commercial banks for purposes of purchasing maize.
This follows the grain marketer’s failure to sell the maize to recover money to repay the loan.
In addition to repaying the loan, government has also taken over the maize that was in the custody of Admarc.
The Daily Times has gathered that the government has been ferrying the maize from Admarc warehouses to facilities that are run by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) for storage purposes.
“Government will sort out liability issues regarding the loan for the maize,” Admarc Board Chairperson James Masumbu said in an earlier interview.
“It is government taking over the responsibility of the loan as it were. You are aware that we bought the maize with borrowed money and, for government to take full responsibility, a directive was given that the maize should be given to NFRA because they are better placed to keep it than Admarc.”
Admarc struggled to repay the loan as people opted to buy the grain from private traders who were selling at a lower price than Admarc. Admarc pegged a 50 kilogramme bag of maize at K12, 500.
Admarc’s Public Relations Manager, Agnes Ndovi, said the government owns the maize since it guaranteed the loan that was used to buy the grain.
“It was not Admarc’s[maize] but government’s. Because the hunger [situation] turned out not as anticipated, Admarc is still keeping a lot of government maize in its warehouses.Therefore, the government has decided that 80,000 metric tonnes of its maize should be moved to the National Grain Reserves as buffer stocks for food security,” Ndovi said,
But chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Joseph Chidanti- Malunga, accused Admarc of lacking transparency in handling the issue.
“How can they send maize to NFRA without following procedure? When we ask them, they tell us that ‘this is government maize and we are sending it for storage’. We [the committee] believe that this is not correct because NFRA and Admarc are two separate entities and they operate under different conditions. We suspect that the government is buying the maize from Admarc,” Chidanti- Malunga said.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues