The Federal Government has commenced investigation into the recent exportation of poor quality yams to the United States of America.
The Federal Govern ment had said it was targeting about $8 billion as annual foreign exchange from the exportation of yams to other countries if its yam export programme succeeds.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in June, flagged off the export of 72 metric tonnes of yams to Europe and the United States of America and the United Kingdom (UK). Briefing reporters at the end of yesterday’s FEC meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said that his ministry was investigating what he described as “poor quality” yams exported to the United States.
He said reports indicated that some consignments of yams that left Nigeria some months ago to the U.S. by sea all got rotten before their arrival at the final destination.
Ogbeh said: “We were mandated to brief you about development in the agric sector. One of the developments about the consignment of yams which was exported from here to the United Stated and which, according to the reports we have today, was found to be of poor quality.
“The ministry will investigate because the ministry is not an exporter; the exporters are private people.
“We will investigate the company that exported it and ask our quarantine department to check and find out why such a consignment left here,” he stressed.
New Telegraph investigations revealed that Non-oil exports from Nigeria continues to face mass rejection at entry points in many countries in Europe for failure by exporters to comply with standards specified by the countries.
The country faced a similar situation in 2015 with rejection of exports to Europe mainly in the food and beverage segment.
Top on the list of food items banned from entering Europe were beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, fried fish, meat, peanut chips and palm oil.
Cocoa and cashew nuts were also rejected in many other countries, not only in Europe.
The reasons for their rejection included the inability of exporters to adhere to global standards, poor packaging and high level of chemicals, poor labelling, insufficient information on nutritional content, presence of high level of pesticide residue and presence of Mycotoxins.
Meanwhile, FEC has approved N26 billion for the payment of debt owed electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
The debt is an accumulation of power consumed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja, said the amount is below the N70 billion claimed by the DISCOs as debt owed them by the Federal Government.
The N26 billion is expected to be deducted from the N500 billion which the companies are currently owing the Federal Government as its share of their electricity revenue earnings.
According to Fashola, the amount approved for payment by FEC is what has been verifiable after the claim by the DISCOS.
The Power Minister said that the electricity companies may have lumped up debts owed by some state governments and such other organisations not owned by the Federal Government to have arrived at the N70 billion debt claims.
He insisted that the claim remained unverifiable. “We presented a memorandum to FEC to approve the verified sum of monies being debts owed by MDAs to distribution companies for electricity supplied to them since the beginning of this administration.
“We have concluded the verification and we now ask Council to approve the verified sum of N25.994 billion owed by MDAs of the Federal Government to be paid to the DISCOs out of the claims of N67.41 billion. So, there is a differential of about N41 billion.
“That differential arises first because some of the claims do not belong to the Federal Government. Some are owed by states and local governments, also some belong to public international organisations and were classified as government debts.
“Government has also approved that this amount that has been quantified be set off against the amount owed by the DISCOs to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), a 100% Federal Government-owned subsidiary company.
“They also owe government for their unremitted collections for energy they have taken and have not remitted. They are owing about N500 billion to government.”