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NO MONEY HAS BEEN PAID TO ALPHA – AGRIC MINISTER

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

GOVERNMENT has not paid a single ngwee to Alpha Commodities for supply of fertiliser to Southern Province contrary to lies being peddled by the Patriotic Front, says Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri.

Mr Phiri who lost his temper on the floor of Parliament was responding to Kabushi Member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo who   wondered why Government did not use the $50 million paid to Alpha Commodities to pay farmers who delivered maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

Mr Phiri said it’s unfair for Mr Lusambo to continue deliberately peddling lies on the issue knowing too well that this has potential to mislead the public.

He said those peddling lies about Government having paid $50 million to Alpha Commodities should stop because one of them is going to land in trouble.

Meanwhile, Mr Phiri said the government is concerned that some farmers who supplied maize to the FRA have not been paid their money.

He said government is in talks with commercial banks to acquire a loan and use maize as collateral.

Mr Phiri said FRA has also been allowed to export 450, 000 metric tonnes to raise money to pay the farmers some of whom are not on the FISP programme and have failed to buy fertiliser for their fields.

Mr Phiri said so far FRA has paid for the initial  500, 000 mt  for strategic reserve and what is remaining is for the extra maize the agency bought after it was instructed to mop the excess produce.

He pleaded with farmers who have not been paid to be patient as the country is in a debt crisis left behind by the PF government.

Mr Phiri said President Hakainde Hichilema was in Congo DR this week for talks on the opening of the Congo market which will allow Zambia to export to that country.

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