Presidential Spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga, has officially finally broken his silence on media reportage of the acquisition of some tractors and blames media houses for providing fora for guests in their studios to misrepresent the situation with the intention of generating disaffection towards him and to subject him to public ridicule.
Below is a reproduction of the full statement.
RE: PURCHASE OF TRACTORS BY HON MAHAMA AYARIGA
I have followed with utter surprise the media reportage of the acquisition of tractors by myself under the Agriculture Mechanization Centre Scheme (AMSEC) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) of the Government of Ghana.
Even after I forwarded to some agitated media houses the full details of the transaction and the Minister for Agriculture (Hon Kwesi Ahwoi) held a press briefing to explain the scheme and my involvement, some media houses persist in misrepresenting or providing fora for guests in their studios to misrepresent the situation to the Ghanaian and even international audience with the object of generating disaffection towards me and to subject me to public ridicule. I am even told that some busy body group has sent the matter to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
For the benefit of the discerning Ghanaian public and international audience, the facts of the matter are as follows:
1. The Government of Ghana imported tractors and other agriculture equipments intended to be made available to Ghanaians under affordable arrangements. Apart from the large numbers of tractors and agricultural implements which have been imported the NDC Government is working on importing an additional number of 2,000 tractors with the expectation that every farmer who needs a tractor service should have access at affordable cost.
2. Every one with intention to engage in agricultural activities is entitled to apply to the Agriculture Engineering Services Division (AESD) of MOFA to be considered to purchase either the tractors or the other implements. This opportunity is not limited to only “under-privileged farmers” as widely being misrepresented since the price of a tractor sold by the mechanization division is about GHC 18,000 and that is hardly within the reach of most “under-privileged farmers” in Ghana.
3. In view of the reality of the general low income of farmers and with a view to enable low income farmers to also access tractor services at affordable costs MOFA devised a scheme known as the Agriculture Mechanization Centre Scheme (AMSEC). Under AMSEC anyone intending to provide tractor services to farmers is allowed to enter into an arrangement to purchase 5 tractors which would be used to establish a Mechanization Centre (MC) in any district of Ghana. The MC is obliged to provide tractor services to any farmer within its catchment area at fixed rates per acre. The person who entered into the arrangement with MOFA is however responsible for ensuring that over a period of 5 years the total cost of the tractors is paid to MOFA. MOFA however, has supervisory powers over these MCs and constantly monitor’s their operations.
4. I was unaware of this scheme when I applied to acquire 2 tractors for use by farmers in Bawku, in the Upper East Region of Ghana under a scheme designed to enable them have access to tractor services at the most affordable cost. My application for 2 tractors was approved and I was asked to make the deposit payment of GHC 9,000 for each of them and the rest would be paid over 3 years. I paid the deposit for one of them and was raising funds to pay for the other when I chanced on the Minister for Agriculture at the Presidency who asked me what I wanted those tractors for. He had seen my name among the list of applicants. Upon explaining the scheme I was putting in place in Bawku for the farmers he mentioned the AMSEC project and advised that that would enable the scheme have more tractors and the terms of payment under AMSEC was better suited for that purpose.
5. I subsequently applied to have my initial arrangement to purchase 2 tractors converted to the AMSEC scheme. This application was approved by the Director of the Agriculture Engineering Services Division (AESD) of MOFA who asked that I make an additional payment of GHC 1,000 to meet the GHC 10,000 minimum deposit requirement to qualify for release of the tractors under the AMSEC scheme. The GHC 1,000 was paid on 15th April 2009. On 16th April 2009 I signed the agreement with MOFA under the AMSEC scheme binding myself to comply with the terms of the AMSEC scheme and ensure that the tractors are paid for in accordance with the payment schedule.
6. The total cost of the tractors under the AMSEC scheme is GHC 90,000 and the tractors must be paid for within a five years period.
7. Under a Management Team (MT) that I set, the tractor services commenced in Bawku on 15th May 2009 and run throughout the ploughing period of the season. According to the report of the MT, about 500 farmers (and farmers groups) of varied political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in 3 districts (Bawku East, Bawku West and Garu-Tempane) have benefited from the programme and a total of 1,046 acres of land have been ploughed within a period of two months. The MT presents me the following as the break-down of districts of beneficiaries and the numbers of acres ploughed:
# The cost of tractor service per acre provided by our Mechanization Centre in Bawku was GHC 12.00, the cheapest in the whole of Ghana this year. A market survey revealed that the average cost of procuring the service from other tractor operators in Bawku was GHC 25.00 per acre. This can be ascertained from the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture.
# The MC in Bawku continues to be under the supervision of MOFA and members of the Management Team have been undergoing training to improve upon their capacity to provide more efficient services to the farmers. Plans are far advanced to make more equipment available to the MC to increase the range of agricultural services the center provides.
# I have not made any profits under the scheme and my motive has not been to provide tractor services to farmers with the aim of financial gain. Also, to the best of my knowledge of the enrolment procedures under AMSEC, nothing illegal has happened in the processes of my involvement in the setting up of the MC in Bawku. Lastly, the responsibility to ensure that within 5 years the total cost of the tractors which stands at GHC 90,000 is paid to MOFA still remains mine and mine only.
It is my hope that those who are interested in discussing the matter in the media will allow themselves to be guided by these facts if indeed their quest is for the truth. These facts are independently ascertainable at both MOFA and on the ground in Bawku and if Mr Anas Aremeyaw would want his named mentioned again in another speech by another visiting United States President, Bawku remains within reach of his ‘investigative journalism’. Need I say that the Agriculture Engineering Services Division of MOFA is even closer to his Accra office?
Let me use this opportunity to express my unflinching solidarity with farmers across the country and my own personal commitment to the improvement of their welfare as demonstrated by my role in establishing the MC that provides the cheapest services to farmers in the whole country.
Office of the President
Accra – Ghana.
Source: Office of the President
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|