Department awaits passing of two bills

National

THE Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) will have a legal basis to implement its work plans once two bills are passed in Parliament, Secretary Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava says.
Ila’ava told The National that the two bills, Agriculture Administration and Adjustment Bill and the Agriculture Investment Corporation Bill, would enable DAL to manage and monitor agriculture funds.
He said the Agriculture Administration and Adjustment Bill had been cleared by Cabinet and was now before Parliament.
“This one will now allow DAL the legal basis on which to monitor the implementation of agriculture projects funded through the public purse, including donor assistance, and the district services improvement programme and provincial services improvement funds.
Ila’ava explained that the b Agriculture Investment Corporation Bill was still before Cabinet and once passed in parliament would give the department legal powers to monitor and take action on those medium to large private sector agri-business projects in the country.
“Since independence, the department has not had any legal basis to execute its powers to monitor and manage projects,” he said.
“These two bills will for the first time give the department the mandate to monitor, evaluate and, if need be, prosecute those responsible for misusing government funds.”
“We have an agriculture incentive package that Cabinet has passed and that is to attract investors who want to go into serious agriculture farming in this country,” Ila’ava said.

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