NFRA frees Admarc collateral maize
Uses K2.2 billion to buy maize from banks
By Cathy Maulidi:
The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has disclosed that it has used K2.2 billion from its 2022-23 budget to buy 7,550 metric tonnes of maize from commercial banks that were holding on to Admarc maize under collateral terms.
NFRA acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Loga told The Daily Times that the maize in question was under collateral agreements with NBS Bank, EDF and CDH Investment Bank.
Without divulging more details on what quantity of maize was bought from which bank, Loga said NFRA paid the banks so that the maize could be released to markets for people to access it.
“We had a balance from the previous budget; that is, K5.1 billion. So, we have used K2.2 billion to free the maize which was under collateral and now we have another balance of K2.9 billion. We will use this balance to buy maize in this season. The plan is that we should add it to the K12 billion that was allocated for the purchase of maize this season.
“There were specific areas Admarc wanted to move the maize to; so, they had the maize but they couldn’t do that since it was collateralised under banks. They told us the areas they wanted the maize to be redeemed [and sent to]; so, we paid the banks and they released the maize,” Loga said.
Confirming the development, Admarc acting CEO Ethel Zilirakhasu said “release orders were issued” for the banks to release the maize.
Last month, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Cluster ordered Admarc to release to the market maize that was under collateral.
Co-chairperson for the cluster Werani Chilenga said it was wrong for the government to let banks hold on to Admarc maize under the collateral agreement when Malawians are dying of hunger.
Meanwhile, Chilenga has commended NFRA for taking heed of the order to buy maize from the banks.
“I have got a very good example of my own constituency, Nthalire, where maize has been received at Admarc. I may not be sure of other places but, from the information that I have, the maize has been released and my constituency is good testimony to that,” Chilenga said.