A meeting to holistically examine the proposed changes/fees was convened by the FISSD and chaired by the Permanent Secretary FMARD on the 25th August 2020. In his welcome speech, the permanent secretary reminded the stakeholders of the need to discuss critical issues of Services with corresponding charges/fees necessary to operationalize the National Fertilizer Quality (Control) Act, 2019 for the regulation of the manufacture, importation, distribution, sales and quality of fertilizers in Nigeria.
He went further to remind the house that the Act was signed in to law by Mr President in October, 2019 and subsequently presented to the public by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sambo Nanono on Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 shortly before the commencement of COVID-19 Lockdown. It was the earnest desire and expectation of the Ministry that by now, the Act would have been in full operations but for the COVID-19 pandemic which slowed down the activities in the public service.
He told them that the Ministry has never had any moment of rest in the bid to set in motion, the enforcement of the Fertilizer Act. You may therefore wish to note that Ministry has developed Regulations for the smooth implementation of the Act and has forwarded has forwarded same to the Federal Ministry of Justice for review by legal draftsmen and subsequent gazetting. In the Implementing regulations, are the steps, processes, procedures and guidelines for effective enforcement of the Fertilizer Act.
He also listed the services/activities necessary for the enforcement of the Act and is therefore proposing fees, tariffs and charges that would be prescribed for the various services to be rendered for consideration and adoption,. In proposing these charges/ fees, a lot of considerations were made. First is the consideration of “Ease of doing business’ in the country which has improved upon the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC); Enabling Business of Agriculture (EBA) which measures the laws, regulations and bureaucratic processes that affect farmers and considerations for fertilizer cost build-up processes which tends to place the cost burden on the farmers who are the end users.
He reiteratead the fact that they were invited to the meeting because their offices are considered veritable and indispensable allies in the administration of the provisions of the fertilizer Act in this country. As Public Service institutions, we must be seen to be working together for the common good of the citizenry and not as competing of antagonizing entities.
The ultimate goal of the Fertilizer Regulatory System is to achieve increased agricultural productivity for national food security, any activity that negates or tend to negate this objective must be collectively seen as a threat to national security.
The three cardinal objective of the Fertilizer Act which are as follows:
- Safeguarding the interests of the farmers against nutrient deficiencies, adulteration, misleading claims, and short weight;
- Safeguarding interests of fertilizer enterprises thereby creating part of the enabling environment for private sector investment in the fertilizer industry;
- Protecting the environment against potential dangers that may result from the use of harmful substances in fertilizer.