GOVERNMENT has released K47 billion towards the payment of a debt owed to Nyiombo Investments Limited and Omnia Small-Scale Limited.
The debt was in respect of the supply of basal and top dressing fertiliser to Government which was distributed to farmers around the country.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Emmanuel Chenda said in an interview yesterday that the payment was part of the K169 billion owed to the two companies, which the Government inherited from the MMD administartion last year.
He said the Government was expected to liquidate the remaining K122 billion to the two institutions this week.
Mr Chenda dispelled reports that the two companies had stopped distributing fertiliser to farmers under the Government-supported Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the 2012/2013 farming season due to the outstanding debt.
"We agreed at a meeting held on Tuesday that the two organisations should continue distributing fertiliser according to the contract they have signed with the Government.
"In the meantime we have paid them a part payment to ensure that their operations don't come to a halt," he said.
Government had in August this year awarded contracts to Omnia Small-Scale Limited and Nyiombo Investments to supply 153,634 tonnes of fertiliser for the 2012/2013 farming season.
Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia would supply 30,000 tonnes to make a total of 183,634 tonnes of fertiliser.