Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, yesterday confirmed that over 265 persons allotted tractors by the previous administration in the state have failed to pay for the tractors and disappeared with them.
Speaking during Tractors Owners and Operators of Nigeria (TOOAN) National Award Day in Katsina, Masari lamented that his administration could only trace 35 out of over 300 tractors purchased by the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in the state.
He said: “These were tractors that were bought by government on contract basis and given to some individuals at 50 per cent discount and the state did not get up to 10 per cent of what was spent in providing these tractors because if they were working in Katsina State, there would be a major benefit coming to the state.”
The governor, who bagged the award of TOOAN National Grand Patron, assured that the abuse that characterized the past procurement and disbursement of tractors in the state would not rear its ugly head under his watch.
He directed the firm supplying 225 of the tractors currently billed for the state, Springfield Mahindra, to ensure that all the tractors were supplied before the end of this year.
“All those who have benefited from the first batch (supplied by the firm) have made payment up to date with over 90 per cent of them paying on the same day. This government is about rural people, it is about the person on the street, it is about the moral business person,” he declared.
Earlier, the TOOAN national president, Engr. Elesa Bitrus Yakubu, expressed confidence that the tractors programme of the Masari administration would be a spring board to national industrialization and implored other states to emulate the commitment of the administration to agricultural transformation agenda.
Yakubu also appealed to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to promptly release agricultural credit intervention funds to Access Bank Plc to enable it grant loan for the agricultural mechanization programme at lower interest rate as the bank was currently utilizing shareholders deposits to fund the loan.