Gov Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya takes Gombe to a greater height
Gombe State government has been making a giant stride in bringing succor to the Citizenry by embarking on lots of developmental projects across the State.
The Commissioner for Information and Culture, Julius Ishaya made this known in a chat with Newsmen in Gombe International Hotel, Gombe alongside the just concluded 2021 NDIC Retreat for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria, FICAN, with the theme: Enduring Extreme Disruptions: Resilience & Reinvention for Banking System Stability & Deposit Insurance” in Gombe, Gombe State.
He listed the completed roads projects to include Dukku – Kalam – Dokoro, Dukku – Jamari, Bambam – Tula – Yiri, Kwanar Rugaji – Kuka Bakwai – Galgaldu and Bajoga township roads among others. The MIY administration also initiated and completed the 15.2km Jabba – Garin Wada, the 21km Degri – Talasse and 16km Malala – Dukkuyel regional roads with the same funding.
These are aside the township road projects in Gombe metropolis. As it is a standard practice, funding of counterpart projects are done through bank facilities. The state has been transparently executing such projects for the benefit of the people. Over 340 classroom blocks have either been constructed or renovated and equipped with modern teaching and learning materials”, he said.
The $2m NSHIP counterpart payment that facilitated the total overhaul of our 114 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across 114 wards in the state was also part of this facility. So also the NEWMAP/WB erosion control project for N2.9bn which is completed and has greatly assisted in reducing the menace of erosion and flooding in the state capital especially in the Gombe State University to Mallam Inna area”, he added.
“The Contractor Finance Facility, CFF, even though not a direct loan but a guarantee to the contractors was secured to ensure the provision of ultra-modern solar powered street lights on all our roads – both double and single lanes – totaling over 114km of roads, fund the biometric and attendance equipment contract for which hundreds of millions of naira has already been saved and the guaranteed balance will be assessed by competent contractors to complement the N2bn FGN health facility designed to help states upgrade their health facilities due to the Covid 19 pandemic”, stressed the Commissioner.
“At present, a new N1.8bn General hospital is under construction in Kumo, while 3 other hospitals are being renovated and upgraded. These include Bajoga hospital (650m), Kaltungo (1.2bn) and kuri (118m).
He maintained that the desire of the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya administration to bequeath a better and more economically viable State brought about the idea to raise the N35bn Sukuk bond. A painstaking review and evaluation of our state of finances was undertaken.
This according to him revealed a funding gap that needed to be hedged in order to enable government deliver on its mandate.
“Again, the time value of money and low rates of interest played major roles in taking the decision. This is aside the need to ensure the completion of abandoned projects of the past administration. At present the debt-to-revenue ratio of the state is one of the lowest in the country at about 22% far less than the 73% of the federal Government”, he noted.
Recall that this ratio, due to the alleged misapplication of facilities by the last administration had over shot the 20% maximum limit and made it impossible for the present administration to adequately finance its projects.
The review of the ratio to 40%, he said, provided the window for the state to access funding. The proposed bond proceeds will be utilized to fund Phase 1 of the Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park, the Gombe Capital Special Development Zone, which will include a new state secretariat complex, a new state assembly complex and a new judiciary complex – a replica of the three arms zone in Abuja. Part of the proceeds according to him will also be used for the expansion of the Gombe Regional Water Project for which the FGN is also making a 30% contribution in the over N7bn project.
The Commissioner maintained that the bond was designed in a way that it would not to have any negative effect on the state throughout its term.
The desire of the present administration to provide social and affordable housing for the states’ civil servants especially the low income earners as well as staff quarters in all health and educational institutions informed the need to key into the Federal Governments’ Family homes fund initiative”.
“This seeks to bridge the housing deficit in the country. Gombe like all other states of the federation seeks to access N5bn at very low concessional terms.
“ Incidentally, the Federal Government in its bid to assist the sub nationals contend with the effect of repayments of the existing FGN facilities has extended a N18.7bn FGN intervention facility with a 30-year tenure and a 2-year moratorium”, the Commissioner stressed.
Ishaya argued that the FGN’s window of opportunity for a transparent and accountable government such as that of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya will greatly assist Gombe state to invest in more critical infrastructure that will stimulate growth and bring about economic prosperity.
Borrowing according to him is generally an accepted norm the world over in order to fund deficits, provide critical infrastructure and hedge against depreciation.
He noted that the only downside is when it is misapplied or diverted from the original intent. That therefore should be the worry and concern of every indigene of Gombe.
All facilities obtained according to him must be tied to projects, budgeted for and utilized for the purpose they are meant for.
Speaking further, he said, “Till date, no recurrent borrowings have been made by the present administration. Furthermore, the MIY administration has always followed due process and met all regulatory requirements in all its dealings with financial institution and will continue to do so. With the strides achieved by the current administration, the state has attained national recognition from different credible rating agencies”.
“These include; the best state in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria; the Number 10 on the Transparency and Accountability index and Number 7 on Fiscal Responsibility index among others.
“The present administration has also succeeded in creating a clear roadmap and has placed Gombe State on the trajectory of sustainable development through the 10 year plan, DEVAGOM.
“The MIY administration takes seriously its covenant with the good people of Gombe and will not in any way betray the trust bestowed in it by the people but will only strive to exceed their expectations”, stated Ishaya.