AGRICULTURE and Livestock Minister John Hickey said yesterday that the National Planning Department should explain where the K200 million in National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) funds for 2008 and 2009 have gone.
Mr Hickey said since the NADP was introduced in 2006, his department had only received K79 million, in 2006.
“In 2008 and 2009, we have received nothing. Zero. We got nothing last year, and nothing this year,” Mr Hickey said.
He was responding to The National’s front page story yesterday headlined “NADP hijacked by Waigani bureaucrats: MP”.
Speaking in Tambul on Tuesday, Tambul-Nebilyer MP Benjamin Poponawa had accused the NADP of only serving “paper farmers of Waigani” and was said it was not serving the rural farmers.
Mr Poponawa said Government workers had hijacked the NADP.
Reacting to this, Mr Hickey said the report was “half true”.
“And I’m not blaming the reporters for this. I’m blaming those who are feeding the information out. They are not giving the facts to the papers.
“The intention of the Government under NADP is to provide K100 million every year. If you look in the budget, that money is appropriated. But it is being hijacked in Waigani, at the Department of Planning. All the money has been dished out there.”
He said Planning Department officials had deliberately changed NADP from an intervention programme to one under the Public Investment Programme (PIP), so it could be managed at Vulupindi.
“They’ve (Planning) been very tricky. NADP is special intervention. But somehow bureaucrats have changed it to PIP. It was deliberate, so they can dip their hands into it. This is the hijacking that you have referred to appropriately,” he said.
He said the “papers farmers of Waigani” were people at the perimeters of politics, running around with false proposals.
“They are the detractors,” he said, adding the Planning Department should give a detailed account of where the K200 million had gone.