The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has given the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) a one-month ultimatum to compensate farmers whose farms were destroyed by the pathogenic avian influenza disease in Kumasi.
The ministry defaulted in paying compensation to the affected farmers after the Ministry of Finance had released GH¢1,999,768.10 for that purpose in 2015, 2018 and 2021, respectively.
The 2022 Auditor General’s Report further revealed that only GH¢191,730 was paid to 10 farmers, leaving GH¢ 1,808,038.10 unaccounted for.
However, the Financial Controller of MoFA, Abdul Tahiru Rashid, indicated that six more farmers, out of the 41, had been paid, leaving an outstanding compensation of GH¢1.4 million.
He explained that all the farmers, who were affected in 2021, had been paid, except the 2015 and 2018 casualties.
He attributed the delay in settlement for the rest to their failure to present destruction certificates to warrant the payment.
But the committee disagreed with that explanation, saying that once the ministry had the contacts and other details of the victims there was no need for any delay.
In response, Mr Rashid said the information they had on the farmers excluded their bank details which had stalled the payment.
Mr Rashid told the committee that the regional veterinary officers had been tasked to relay information to the farmers to come for their money.
However, the committee said it was aware that the affected farmers were unaware that they needed to present a destruction certificate before receiving their compensation.
It reckoned that many of such farms had since folded up due to lack of capital injection.
The committee, therefore, recommended that the affected farmers should be contacted with immediate effect paid their compensation within a month and report back to it.
It said if that failed, the money should be recovered from the Chief Director of MoFA who should also ensure that the affected farmers were duly paid.