Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Professor Patrick Monty Jones has on Thursday 18th May 2107, updated the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Agriculture, on the 2016 and 2017 Annual Progress of the Agriculture Ministry.
Acting Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture in Parliament, Hon. Aaron Aruna Koroma in his opening statement said that the committee is not meant to witch-hunt any Ministry’s Department or Agencies (MDAs) but rather it is meant to add value to their work for the people of this country.
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Hon. Koroma added that there are a lot of miss conceptions about what the Ministry of Agriculture and their agencies are doing in their various constituencies. Therefore, he said the Members of Parliament must be informed to be in the position that they can answer to their constituents. He said they are the people’s representative and that is what they have been sent to parliament to perform.
He said that this is the first meeting they are having with Apex Bank and there are issues that the farmers are not accessing any loans from this bank but the aims of forming this bank was to loans the agricultural activities especially rural farming across the country.
In his presentation, Prof. Jones noted that the Economy is projected to grow by 4.9 percent in 2016 because the resumption of iron ore mining, recovery in agriculture, manufacturing, trade and other services as well as improvement in energy.
He added that despite these growth including an increase in domestic food production, the sharp depreciation of the exchange rate during the year resulted in high inflation for basic consumers’ goods mainly imported food items.
He informed that consequently, inflation rose to 10.9 percent in September 2016 from 8.9 percent in December 2015.
He said this growth will be driven mainly by the expected increases in iron ore production, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, construction, manufacturing and energy and the depreciation of the Leones is expected to moderate as both mineral and agricultural export earnings increase combined with the implementation of prudent fiscal and monetary policies in the medium-term. He disclosed that the total domestic revenue collected during the first half of 2016 amounted to Le 1.4 trillion (5.2 percent of GDP) and was broadly in line with the programme target.
He said for the year as whole, domestic revenue is projected to reach Le 2.8 trillion (10.5 percent of GDP) and the total grants received during the period amounted to Le 293 billion mostly project grants.
He said since the beginning of the year, government received budget support of 5.0 million pounds from the United Kingdom and 21.0 million US dollars from International Monetary Fund.
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