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$100 million loan request: A look at Kogi’s 25 years of meaningless journey

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Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello

That Kogi State government requested for the World bank loan of $100 million is no longer news.

What is news is, how would the humongous sum of hard currency from the world’s financial body be appropriated in the interest of the state.

What should worry and be of serious concern by this generation of Kogi State should be, how would the next generation of Kogi citizens cope with the repayment of debt that would last for the next 25 years.

Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello through the state Ministry of Finance applied for the loan in 2016, during Dr. Bukola Saraki led 8th Senate, but couldn’t push approval beyond that time, due to crisis between him and Senator Dino Melaye who represented Kogi West Senatorial district.

Dino, an ally of the former Senate President wielded so much influence in the 8th Senate and wouldn’t have been part of an institution that would approve that sums of money

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Ordinarily, one shouldn’t bother if the state has a clean bill of health in infrastructural development, but, come to think of it, that Kogi is the most underdeveloped and most corrupt among the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory is a sad story of reality.

When the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released its report on states in Nigeria in 2019 with “Kogi wearing the status of corruption”, it sparked reaction from the State government with the governor disclaiming the development even when it’s obvious that ‘corruption and insecurity’ is phenomenal in the state.

Kogi state has requested for a loan of $100 million from the World Bank despite unverified debt of N123 billion.

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When the newly appointed Kogi State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Hon. Asiwaju Idris appeared before Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, he told the Committee that Kogi’s debt profile was within the range that it could go a borrowing.

“The debt profile is within the acceptable range for the State to go a borrowing.

“As we speak today, Kogi State debt profile as at 31st December, 2019 is N123 billion, we can still borrow because we have looked at the analysis of the loan and the very important factor to borrowing money from the World Bank is that the repayment/deduction must not be more than 40% of the allocation for the preceeding twelve months.

“Checks on our debt profile deduction is 28% against the threshold of 40%.

The Commissioner said that the loan would be used for infrastructural development.

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However, there’s no confirmation from the Committee Chairman, Senator Clifford Ordia on the letter from the Debt Management Office with regards to Kogi State for seeking the loan.

Senator Ordia hadn’t disclose at that public hearing which sat on 4th February, 2019, whether the Committee was in receipt of the economic and infrastructural blueprint of Kogi State.

He didn’t reveal at that meeting, if the Committee went on oversight after Kogi state government indicated to access the loan, suggesting that the Committee wasn’t detailed in handling of the loan request.

Predictably, the Committee will submit a favourable report to the Committee of the whole and it is a sure bet, that the Senate will approve the loan that would be a burden to the State for the next twenty-five years.

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