The Oyo State government is set to procure a £5 million loan for the purchase of tractors.
In a letter signed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi seeking approval of the state Assembly, it stated that the state desired the fund to purchase multipurpose tractors that would foster mechanised farming in the state.
Speaker of the state Assembly, Honourable Michael Adeyemo, who read the letter at Tuesday’s plenary, explicated that the fund, when approved, would bolster the renewed agricultural initiatives of the state government.
Adeyemo said: “government is trying to look inwards by reviving the agricultural sector. We cannot improve the sector by continuing the use of manual labour or old farm implements and need to use mechanised tools like tractors. But many farmers may be unable to afford the cost of tractors. The government is trying to bring in multipurpose tractors that can be used for many activities on farm and enhance farm productivity.”
Following observations of some members on the need to know the repayment plan and tenure of the loan, the Assembly deferred approval till investigations by the joint house committee on agriculture and appropriation were done.
Among others who commented, Honourable Olusegun Olaleye of Ibadan North 2 constituency had noted the imperative of questioning relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies on terms and conditions attached to the loan.
Though he noted that the fund would revive the state’s agriculture sector, chairman, parliamentary caucus, Honourable Olusegun Ajanaku also supported the call for the house to scrutinise the request key before giving the executive the go ahead.
It would be recalled that the Governor Ajimobi government in 2013 distributed 16 tractors each to 20 agrarian local government areas, out of which 12 are to be leased out for farming purposes at about N4 million each, while four are for hire.
Owing to observations that those tractors might have grown wings, the Assembly had in May 2017 mandated the House Committee on local government and chieftaincy matters to investigate the tractors’ whereabouts and report to the Assembly, though yet to.
Nigerian Tribune reported that present and former chairmen and members of transition committees were to be questioned in the investigation towards retrieving the tractors from beneficiaries who had reneged, or neglected to fulfill their responsibilities on the tractors leased out to them.
Meanwhile, the Assembly, deliberating on a motion by chairman, committee on sports, Honourable Fatai Adesina, is to look into factors that culminated into the relegation of the state football team, Shooting Stars.
The House Committee is to investigate challenges of funding and probable privatisation of the club, and question management, players, accountant general, staff among others towards reviving the fortunes of the club.
In another motion by Honourable Muideen Olagunju of Oyo East/Oyo West constituency harped on the need for the state to harness her culture and tourism potentials, towards ensuring that it was a veritable avenue to boost her Internally Generated Revenue.