OrderPaperToday – The Senate has passed the agricultural development fund bill that will compel banks to fund agriculture development with 5% profits.

The bill seeks to create a fund to be financed by 5% profits after tax of each commercial bank, 50 per cent of the duty levied on imported rice, wheat, sugar and milk and 5% of the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) for agricultural sector.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Abdulahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa) was introduced to the Senate on the 5th of November, 2019. It passed for second reading on the 4th of March 2020.

Following the consideration of the report of the committee on the bill on Wednesday, the Senate passed the bill for third reading. A similar bill is in the House of Representatives.

Highlights of the bill…

By the provisions of the bill, the federal government will give the fund a take-off grant of 0.5 per cent of the Natural Resources Development Fund. Furthermore, institutional capacity for enhanced agricultural productivity, income, employment, accessibility to quality inputs and outputs markets through research, innovation, technology upgrade and extension will also be guaranteed by government.Clause 2 of the bill provides for the establishment of the Board of the National Agricultural Development Fund. The Board is to be headed by a Chairman.

The bill has the objective “providing sustainable funding for agricultural development in Nigeria taking to address food production, food security, economic diversification, job creation and international competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.”

Following the clause by clause consideration, it was passed for third reading.

However, the bill will need to be concurred by the House and for the President to assent.

This is a second significant intervention on economic diversification by the senate in days as it passed a bill on solid minerals development for second reading a day before.

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