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GH¢2.47bn spent on Planting for Food and Jobs – Ofori-Atta

BY: Maxwell Adombila Akalaare
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that funds budgeted for the government’s flagship agricultural programme, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) will be released on time.

Mr. Ofori-Atta said the government had also spent a total of GH¢2.47 billion on the programme between 2017 and 2021 to help increase food supply while addressing the unemployment challenges facing the country.

He noted that timely release of the funds was needed to enable farmers to cultivate enough food and create jobs.

He told Parliament Wednesday that all outstanding funds for the programme for 2021 had been released.

The minister was responding to a question in Parliament on when funds for the programme would be released.

The Member of Parliament for Wa East, Godfred Seidu Jasaw, filed an urgent question demanding answers on funds for the PFJ.

The MP said he wanted to know when the Ministry would issue financial clearance to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to clear the large debt owed partners and suppliers, to ensure availability of subsidised fertiliser in this farming season.

In response, Mr. Ofori-Atta said all outstanding funds had been cleared.

“Mr. Speaker, at the end of 2021 an amount of GH¢86.31 million was outstanding, under the PFJ programme.

“This amount has now been released to MOFA for payment,” he said.

The Minister added that an amount of GH¢278.57 million had also been released to the ministry as part of its budget for the 2022 financial year.

“This year, MOFA has requested for an amount of GH¢485.9 million for payment under the PFJ programme. An amount of GH¢278.57 million has subsequently been released to MOFA.

“Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Finance has over the last five years (2017-2021) made budgetary provisions to enable the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) allocate funds to cover all its programmes and projects, including the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.

“During this period, there has been, a cumulative release of GH¢2.47 billion to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to pay for commitments under this programme,” Mr. Ofori-Atta said.