Parliament has challenged the public to hold it accountable should there be further flaws in this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
The remarks follow government’s giving in to many recommendations the House made for the programme ahead of the coming growing season; which included adopting the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture to be party to the national task force of the programme.
Speaking in Mchinji on Wednesday during the national launch of the 2017/18 programme, committee chairperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the House now stands to change the course of its debates on the issue.
“We hope the House will now work towards making the programme more effective for the common man on the ground, unlike in the recent past when such debates were largely accusatory in nature. We should be making progress as a unit,” he said.
The changes in implementation of the programme are already bearing fruits as, for a change, Fisp coupons arrived in the country last month; two months earlier than last year.
Speaking at the same launch, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha warned the stakeholders against fraudulent tendencies in implementing the programme.
Said the minister: “This programme has potential to make a more meaningful impact than it has over the years. Key to this will, therefore, be to tighten the bolts. “Time for cashing in on the poor or sucking government of its hard-earned revenue in this programme is gone. The changes are not going to spare anyone.” n