By Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
A socio critic and publisher has berated Kogi State government over the plans to borrow $100 million for infrastructure development
Ogungbemi who was reacting to the State government plans to borrow $100 million, said on behalf of the entire concerned citizens of Kogi State and in exercising the civic responsibilities and obligation to the people of the Kogi State.
“I am joining my voice to the many voices of reasoning calling on the Kogi State Government to discontinue the ongoing process to obtain $100 million loan for economic development from the World Bank,” he explained.
He lamented that the plan as was recently defended before a committee of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts by the Kogi State Commissioner for Finance, Budget, and Economic Planning Hon. Asiwaju Ashiru Idris on 4th February 2020.
He explained that it is not exaggeration to say that between February 2016 and this day 6th February 2020, the administration of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello has received almost N380 billion from Federal Allocation Account Committee aside funds received from bailout, excess crude oil, refunds for road constructed by the past governments of the state and Paris Club Refund among others.
“The administration of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello has been very lucky to have accessed various intervention funds since he assumed the mantle of leadership in the state. The revenue accruing to the state government within the period under review is unmatched by any previous regime since the state was created in 1991,” he said.
He regretted that from the foregoing, the people of the state have suffered untold and unprecedented hardship between 2016 and 2019 among all categories of workers and pensioners who were being owed several months of arrears of salaries, before now.
“It is very sad to note that after all the releases to the state government both workers and pensioners are generally not up to date in terms of salaries paid in the State, while the level of infrastructural development in the state is nothing to write home about between 2016 and 2019. The administration has no records of tangible projects in the state in the last few years,” he stressed.
He added that “It may interest you to note that despite the huge resources accruing to the state in the last four years the development of the state remains a mirage.
“It was vividly glaring that prudence, accountability, and transparency were all missing words in the dictionary of the leadership in the State.
“Therefore, in the view of the foregoing above we are calling on the State Government to exercise cautions in its efforts to seek for loan either local or foreign.
“Other issues are the continuous efforts and attempts by the Kogi State Government to increase the debt profile of the State and manipulate the state funds through several dubious, fictitious and fraudulent transactions.”
Earlier,Kogi State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Asiwaju Ashiru Idris has said that the state has decided to borrow extra $100 million in order to fast track the social-economic development of the state.
Idris also said there was no cause for alarm over the intended debt as the state is buoyant enough to sustain its present and expected debts.
He explained that the state has already paid a visit to the senate to defend its need for the 100 million dollars which when released will be channeled towards developing the Staple Crop Processing Zone, SCPZ in Alape, Kabba Bunu area of the state