From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Youth group in Niger State under the auspices of ‘Youth Coalition in Defense of Transformation’ have declare its support for farness in project distribution of N21.5 billion Sukuk bond the State government has applied for.
The leader of the group, Comrade Muhammad Muhammad, in a press briefing in Minna, debunked a report of discrimination against Zone A senatorial district in the projects sharing amongst the three Zones of the state.
The group however commended Governor Abubakar Sani Bello for sharing the projects equally among the three senatorial zones.
Comrade Muhammad said that the Sukuk loan was desirable to accelerate the infrastructural development of the state and therefore commended the government for the initiative.
According to him, “a careful look at these shows an even spreading of projects across the 3 geo- political zones of the state”.
Apart from the Sukuk, the group further praised the state government for seeking alternative source of funding of infrastructural projects in the entire state in view of the dwindling resources of the state.
Muhammad specifically mentioned the $266m IDB loan for the construction of the Bida- Minna road and the $330m Kuwait fund to construct the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Teaching hospital at Lapai all for Zone A.
“When these projects are completed it will increase the state IGR by 70% which is in line with the vision of the Abubakar Sani Bello administration of creating alternative source of revenue for the state to reduce over dependence on Federal Allocation” he said.
“No bond is given without conditions, as such 60% of projects must be revenue generating, while 40% will be on social services at 17% interest rate payable in 7 years, the bond will be release in two tranches with N12.5 billion in the first trench” he added.
Although the state government is yet to assess the loan, there are already fireworks as every zone in the state battle for attention if the loan is eventually secured.
While one of the youth groups accused the state government of skewing the utilisation of the fund in favour of one of the senatorial districts in the state, the other group rose in defence of the administration saying “ it has been fair to all the zones”.