Taraba state Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku was at the Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation today, where he directed the ministry to invite Mechanical Engineers from the state Ministry of Works and Transport to ascertain whether the rice hulling and polishing machines can be immediately put to use.
Gov. Ishaku, while inspecting the rice hulling and polishing machines as well as stone crushing machines kept in the ministry’s premises, reiterated that his administration intends to make life better for all Tarabans, pointing out that there is every need to put to use machines or equipment that will help in improving the livelihood of the people, stressing that the era of government wasteful spending is over.
He maintained that Taraba state is the largest producer of rice in the country, hence the urgent need to encourage people in the state to either participate in rice farming or processing, explaining that, when the machines are made functional, he intends to distribute them to cooperative societies that are into rice processing, in form of loans so that they can pay back gradually.
According to him, the proceeds will be ploughed back into the scheme so that more societies can benefit from government’s good gesture.
While conducting the state Governor round the machines, the Commissioner of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Abba Akawu Zagga and his Permanent Secretary, Lawan Yakubu disclosed that the rice hulling machines and the stone crushing machines were purchased by the state government in 2007.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that about 100 rice hulling and polishing machines were supplied by the contractor without contract papers and even the capacity of the machines were not written on it which made it very difficult for the Ministry to put them to use coupled with the fact that all the engineers attached to the ministry have all retired from service.
Some of the machines, he said had been kept within the ministry’s premises while others were kept at the Tractor Hiring Unit, THU.
Speaking on the stone crushing machines, Hon. Akawu Zagga told Governor Darius Ishaku that three stone crushing machines were purchased during the past regime which were meant to assist women that were into manual stone crushing, but lamented that out of the three only one was installed at the foot of the mountain along Jolly Nyame road. It worked only for a day and stopped. Effort to put it back to use proved abortive.
Hon. Zagga explained that further findings by the ministry revealed that the three machines supplied have already outlived their usefulness.