By Lawal Sharafadeen Arab
For a state like Kwara State, which is a civil servant state, one would think our debt would be moderate, but the reverse has been the case. When this government came on board some three years ago, hopes were high, and people across the divides believed in the Wand stick of the new sheriff; little did they know that its debt o’clock.
Let it be on the note that the AbdulRazaq-led government has made more money than any previous governments in the state’s history, ranging from FAAC, Grants and IGR, and this present government has borrowed more than previous governments.
For a government that has never gotten below 3.2 Billion naira in allocation since its inception, which is unprecedented in Kwara, we need to ask questions about how the money is being spent.
Without overlooking the excesses of this government, first, it was the illegal suspension of the local government chairmen and supervisory councillors and then the wanton disengagement of teachers, which this administration tagged as sunset teachers.
While all these are ongoing, this administration keeps having the same recurrent expenditure raising the Domestic Debt from N63 billion to N110 billion.
A statement credited to DMO (Debt Management Office) said while some neighbouring states, including Kogi state, had witnessed reduced borrowing in the last four years, for example, Kogi, as of 2019, was owing N105.13bn as Domestic Debt figure compared with this year when the debt figure dropped drastically to N90.53bn. The same goes for Kaduna, which has reduced its borrowing from N97.26bn as to what it was in 2019 to N78.19bn in 2022.
Report from the DMO further indicated that between March 31st and June 30th, 2022, the debt profile of Kwara state has jumped to One Hundred and Ten Billion, Five Hundred and Twelve Million, Two Hundred and Twenty-one Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty-one naira and Sixty-four kobo (N110,512,221,882.64k).
In just three months, Abdulrazaq’s administration borrowed an additional Six Billion naira (N6bn), making the state’s debts standing to grow from the initial N104bn it was as of 31st March 2022 to N110.5bn as of June 30th, 2022. It is imperative to note that Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq inherited a financially active state with total domestic debt pegged at N59.5bn.
This was the figure for Kwara’s domestic debt from its creation in 1967 to 2019. It is also an indication of prudent financial management by successive administrations that preceded the incumbent, which seems to major in borrowing away the state’s future.
Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq has borrowed more than N60 billion in just three years of his administration, a figure of debt that is more than doubled the entire debt borrowed by successive governments from the year 1967 to 2019.
In the next six weeks, Kwarans would have another chance to make a choice, now a better choice. It is the time to compare and contrast Alhaji Shuaib Abdullahi Yamman, a successful administrator in the public sector, to a secondary school dropout that is only good with incurring debts.
The urge to borrow money without thorough KPIs of projects implemented with the debt and no specific impact on the state’s economy should motivate Kwarans to nip another Aregbesola in the bud. We can’t afford how Aregbesola plunged Osun state into debt to repeat itself in our eyes in Kwara state.
While we ask Governor AbdulRazaq what he is using all the debts he is incurring for; we should not forget that it is our civil right to vote for Shuaib Yaman and all PDP candidates in the coming elections for a prosperous future.
Lawal Akanbi Sharafadeen Arab is the Media Director, Kwara State PDP Governorship Campaign Council.