Parliament Ratifies IDB Loans to Improve Rice Production
On Thursday, 11th July, 2019, Members of Parliament approved four loan agreements presented by the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa. The Islamic Development Bank involved adding value to the rice production in Sierra Leone
The Minister told Parliamentarians that the overall purchase of the agreement was to improve rice production and productivity in Sierra Leone.
The agreements include installment sale financing for regional rice value chain development program between Sierra Leone and Islamic Development Bank, technical assistance grant agreement between Sierra Leone and the Islamic Development Bank [IDB] concerning regional rice value chain development program and loan agreement between Sierra Leone and Islamic Development Bank (in its capacity and the administration of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development) regarding regional rice value chain development program.
The project, according to the Minister will improve irrigation facilities in rural agricultural areas and other facilities to enhance agricultural activities like rehabilitation of roads and seed improvement among others. This project will help farmers to have extension facilities with a key focus on innovative modes of agricultural activities for improve yields. ‘’This will boost the production of rice which is the staple food for Sierra Leone’’, Saffa noted. He said after successful implementation of the projects, Sierra Leone will shift from a country that depends on import of rice to one that champions large scale rice production.
The Committee of Finance Chair in Parliament, Hon. Francis Amara Kaisamba said the agreement should improve rice farming to large scale commercial agriculture is normally not successful in Sierra Leone due to money deterring factors and one of which is the lack of support from Government, Kaisamba maintained. Honorable Kaisamba observed that a number of projects have been ratified in the well of Parliament but beneficiaries have not given good testimonies regarding expected outcome. He furthered that this is the time for the Ministry of Agriculture and other key implementers to break this vicious cycle.
Honorable Aron Boima Koroma of the APC said the agreement would burden the country’s economy considering the current priorities of Government and the available resources.
He furthered that the agreement did not conform to certain provisions of the Public Financial Management Act and called for the ratification of the agreement to be put on hold while other MPs agreed to adopt them.
By Amira Tatayea Bangura
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