Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Government has paid approximately $1 billion to suppliers contracted under Command Agriculture since the inception of the programme in 2016.
This was said by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr George Guvamatanga in an interview with an online radio station yesterday.
Mr Guvamatanga denied that Government had paid $3 billion to Sakunda Holdings for the programme.
“Under my watch, I came in when there was an outstanding amount from the previous season of $170 million. That’s what I signed off, that’s what I paid,” he said.
“Since inception in 2016, the total for Command maize, wheat and soya to the 2018-2019 season is just over $900 million. So when people come here and brand and send in numbers of $3 billion, I don’t know where they getting that number from, it’s not more than a billion since inception.”
He added that Government was still to fulfil its commitment to pay contractors their foreign currency obligations, with Sakunda owed US$150 million. “So all these suppliers — whether it’s FSG, whether it’s Sakunda, whether its Valley Seeds — because there are different contractors and there is no single contractors in all these, they then have to import and we had promised as Government from 2016 that we would provide foreign currency, but we never provided enough foreign currency.”
“The issue for Sakunda became more urgent. What we owe them for the legacy debt is US$150 million that we have not settled, we gave them the local, but we have not given them the US$150 million,” Mr Guvamatanga said.