ED pours 2 billion into scandal-ridden Command Agriculture

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By Leopold Munhende

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Tuesday announced an additional RTGS$1.8 billion and US$51 million injection into his scandal-ridden Command Agriculture programme.

The move could be a slap in the face for parliament which is still investigating the disappearance of some US$3 billion that has been misappropriated during the course of a scheme incepted 2016 to enhance the country’s harvest.

In his State of the Nation Address to parliament Tuesday, Mnangagwa broke down how the funds will be distributed.

“The sustained turnaround of our economy hinges on focused support for the productive sectors especially in agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

“Going forward, Government has set aside ZWL$1, 8 billion towards the production of strategic crops, such as maize, soya bean and cotton.

“Of this amount, ZWL$ 567, 4 million has been allocated for the provision of inputs for vulnerable households and ZWL$332 million to ensure the procurement of inputs for cotton production,” said Mnangagwa.

He added, “A total of ZWL$968 million will augment the ZWL$ 2, 8 billion put forward by banks and the private sector to support the Command Agriculture Programme.”

“A $60 million facility has been set aside for the rehabilitation of machinery under the Command Agriculture Programme.

“US$ 51 million has been allocated for the supply of various agricultural machinery from John Deere, some of which, are already being delivered.”

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has chosen to turn a blind eye on the corruption within the Presidential Office run programme by maintaining it will only investigate once a formal report has been lodged.

A Tendai Biti led parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) exposed the rampant corruption within the scheme that has seen close Mnangagwa ally, Kudakwashe Tagwireyi’s Sakunda Holdings mired in the scandal.