The Federal Ministry of Â Â Â Â Â Â Agriculture and Water Resources plans to auction about 1,000 tractors and implements purchased in 2007 at the cost of N6 billion, an investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has revealed.
The investigation showed that the tractors were rotting away in six locations across the country including Moore Plantation, Ibadan and the Cotton and Agricultural Processor Ltd, Zaria.
Other locations are Strategic Grains Reserve (SGR) Gombe, Federal Secretariat, Owerri, Federal Agricultural Coordinating Unit (FACU) Sheda, in Gwagwalada and NTCDU, Enugu.
NAN learnt that the tractors were purchased with part of the proceeds from the 10 per cent special levy on rice imports imposed by the Obasanjo administration.
Confirming the development, the Minister, Dr Sayyadi Ruma, said with the launch of a new tractor programme,â€œWe want to see how we can address the disposal of those ones in the previous programme that had not been paid for; only 25 per cent of some them was paid.
â€œWe invited successful private sector operators. They have inspected some of these tractors. Because of the long period they have stayed some have been affected by the weather but some are completely really very brand new.
â€œWe have agreed that they be auctioned at very competitive price so that we will therefore pay the contractors who provided these tractors in 2007.
â€œIn fact, as I am speaking to you, we had paid these contractors about N1 billion or N2 billion forÂ over 900 tractors.
â€œWe have to find people who will pay the 75 per cent within the new framework.
â€œ It is a simple strategy of fund sourcing through the revised arrangement of the service provider giving a 25 per cent subsidy.â€
He said that the investor would pay for the balance, and take them and his own tractors to run them through aÂ tractor hiring schemeÂ and recoup his investment within two three years.
Ruma noted that the country had a tractor density of less than 30,000 tractors before the inception of the present administration.
â€œBefore this administration, we had less than 30,000 tractors to feed a population of 140 million people with 65 per cent of them broken down,â€ he said.
He said within three years, the government had added 3,900 tractors to the number under the community tractors hiring scheme.
According to him, the country requires more than two million tractors.Â He added that the government was working â€œround the clockâ€ to meet the â€œhugeâ€ demand.
NAN learnt that the ministry proposed N5 billion in the 2010 budget as grant_in_aid for the public private partnership tractor scheme for the provision of 2,600 tractor