The deployment of an electronic wallet initiative by the Nigerian government saved more than NGN29.7 billion (US$188 million) in the agricultural sector in 2012.
Cellulant Nigeria Limited, the company running the e-wallet scheme, revealed the figures and said the amount would have been lost by federal and state governments during the distribution of subsidised fertilisers, seedlings and other services supporting farms to more than 1.2 million farmers.
Goke Akinboro, chief executive of Cellulant Nigeria, described the initiative as a landmark success.
He said: “We are indeed satisfied that we have helped start a revolution in the agricultural sector in Nigeria by bringing in seemingly simple and practical technology solutions which have helped address age-long problems in the sector.
“We believe that this is the beginning of great things to come and we can only improve in years ahead.”
The company noted the e-wallet scheme allowed the government to effectively target its resources and provided it with an efficient accounting tool.
According to an analytical white paper presented by Cellulant, the e-wallet initiative handled disbursement of subsidies valued at US$294 million for the Nigerian federal and state governments into the wallets of farmers.
The farmers used US$52 million of the subsidy deposits and agro-dealers got US$50 million as matching funds from farmers, leaving around US$192 million of unused funds which would have been lost to corruption under the old scheme.
The unused fund was returned to the government’s purse.
Akinboro added, in addition to saving money for the government, the e-wallet scheme’s greatest achievement was the fact Nigerian farmers truly and directly benefited from the government’s subsidy schemes.