From David Hassan, Gombe
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo has explained that part of the N30 billion bonds his administration accessed from the capital market in October 2012 was used in settling N10 billion incurred at the tail end of the immediate past administration of Alhaji Muhammad Danjuma Goje.
The State Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Hassan Muhammadu who explained this in a Press Release made available to National Mirror in Gombe said the reason for accessing the funds from the capital market was in itself an uncommon demonstration of expertise in financial engineering, necessitated by the need to meet the aspirations of the people of Gombe State for accelerated development based on their expressed desires.
He added that “this is also in addition to the more than N26 billion debt spread between contractor debt, bank loans, unimplemented mandatories, and employees’ debt including pension arrears he (Dankwambo) inherited when he assumed office on 29th May 2011”.
According to the Commissioner, “Although Governor Dankwambo quietly and honorably owned up these liabilities in the interest of our fledgling democracy and in demonstration of good governance, he took the prudent decision to opt out of the heavy bank loans in order to save the State from the vagaries of the volatility of price changes in the money market and the shocks it could engender on the macro economy of the State”.
“As a result, combined with the savings of the State Government, the equivalent of half the amount raised was used to refinance the N10 billion borrowing from the money market incurred by the previous administration at the eve of its departure from office. The balance was prudently used for development as is evident for all to see”, the Commissioner pointed out.
He explained further that the Government has the data available on request for anyone who is interested in knowing how much is spent on any project adding that the ever since the Governor signed the Fiscal Responsibility Law in April 2012, no major contract was signed without a public announcement of its objectives, cost, location, duration and contractor.
The Commissioner defended the action again saying, “He implemented far more projects than were published in the Bond Issuance Prospectus that we had to publish a revised Price Supplement with the approval of the Securities & Exchange Commission. For instance, projects needed to address gulley erosion in order to protect the township roads the Governor constructed were not envisaged by the bond prospectus, which we included”.
Another project that was not included in the bond prospectus project but was included and executed was the standardization of Tsangaya (Almajiri) schools in order to foster proper understanding and interpretation of the Quran to avoid militancy now and in the future.
This Alhaji Muhammad added was because the Governor had to rise to the occasion demanded by the current and on-going security challenges bedevilling the North-East sub-region by seeking to expand the school enrolment through new investment in schools infrastructure at the Primary and Secondary level in addition to providing opportunities for integration of western and Quranic education.
On Internally Generated Revenue, the Commissioner stated that the Dankwambo Dankwambo Administration inherited a very dismal situation superintended by a weak Revenue Board that was dwarfed by a dysfunctional legal framework, absence of the necessary infrastructure for enhanced revenue generation, and poor staffing.