The Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) has begun a final push to get the Fertiliser Bill, which has been in the National Assembly for the past 13 years, passed.
FEPSAN President Mr Thomas Etuh, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, said that that association was making a final push through an appeal to get the Fertiliser Bill passed by the National Assembly.
He said that the Bill which was initiated in 2005, seeks to regulate the sector and assign appropriate sanctions to those who violate the regulations on production, importation, distribution and use of fertiliser.
Etuh noted with displeasure that a lot of work was being done to sanitise the sector but unfortunately, offenders were not deterred as the punishments attached to offenses relating to fertiliser were too weak.
He said that although several arrests had been made by the association but regretted that offenders were usually “let off the hook” when they are taken for prosecution, because there were no laws to adequately punish them.
The FEPSAN boss therefore appealed to the 8th National Assembly to pass the bill before the expiration of the session so as not to set the bill and the association back like previous assemblies had done since 2005.
“Last year, we had 3 arrests made. But prosecution has always been a challenge. Because you find that they take them to court and they say the punishment is very light because the fertiliser bill has not been passed.
“It went to the second reading and is back to the committee. The House of Representatives has sent it to the Senate so that they can harmonise it and then pass it.
“It is at the final stage. We have taken care of most of these issues of regulation and law because that is the first fertiliser bill that will be enacted in the country and FEPSAN has been on the forefront of pushing this.
“We have been on this bill since 2005. And before you know, another set of assembly have come. Now we’ve been on it since the beginning of this current assembly.
“We are hoping that before the end of this parliament, we should be able to get the bill passed so that we don’t go back again.
“FEPSAN is working with other standardisation agencies like SON, NAFDAC and Federal Ministry of Agriculture. So we are at the stage where if they pass it, they’ll send it to Mr. President for approval,” he said.
Etuh stressed that as the regulation had become more important now because the industry had grown bigger and thus required laws to regulate it.
He said that while waiting for the bill to be passed, the Association had taken some giant strides to sanitise the sector especially with the commencement of local production that had met the demands and specifications of Nigerian farmers.
He said that since the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) program began, a lot of investments had come in and lots of jobs had been created across all value chains.
He added that the industry had created over 120,000 jobs having all the jobs in the value chain put together.