Bird Flu: FG begins claims verification, to settle N1.8bn outstanding compensation

The Federal Government has started the verification on poultry farms to confirm the claims, which were submitted by farmers affected by avian influenza outbreak across the country.

Dr Gideon Mshelbwala, the Director, Veterinary and Pests Control Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday said that the exercise was handled by officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance to ascertain the authenticity of the claims before the payment of the outstanding N1.813bn compensation.

According to him, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development compiled the list of the affected farmers, their monies and presented them to the Federal Ministry of Finance for payment.

Mshelbwala disclosed that about 450 affected poultry farmers had yet to receive compensation from the Federal Government, while 89 others had not submitted their claims.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance has been going round since June 28 to verify the claims which we have submitted to them for payment.

“Each farmer submitted a form with a picture, number of birds lost and his or her account number; it is from there that we calculated the losses incurred.

“We have sent all the compensation that we have compiled to the Federal Ministry of Finance to consider for payment and before they pay, they want to verify the claims.

“They are in the field in the six geo-political zones for an on-the-spot assessment of the information in the forms that we have given them.

“They will verify the number of the birds and pay them the money,’’ he said.

On the importation of live chicken, eggs and other poultry products into the country, the director said that the Federal Government banned the trade in 2006.

Mshelbwala, who was reacting to the recent ban on import of poultry products from South Africa and Zimbabwe by the Rwandan government, said that all poultry products from other countries were smuggled.

“Legally, we do not import eggs, live birds and poultry products; they are on the prohibition list.

“In 2006, there was a ban placed on the importation of live birds, eggs and other poultry products and that ban has not been lifted,’’ he added.

Mshelbwala advised smugglers of poultry products to desist from the act or face the full wrath of the law.

Rwanda last week banned the importation of poultry products, including chicken, eggs and chicken meat, from South Africa and Zimbabwe, following an outbreak of the bird flu.

South Africa had in June reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at a farm in the Free State province.



NAN

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