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Debt burden: I can’t pay salaries, Uba Sani cries out

…Says, I met $587m, N85bn debts, 115 contract liabilities

 

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

 

Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani has said that his administration inherited a huge debt burden of $587 million, N85 billion, and 115 contractual liabilities from the previous administration of Mallam Nasir El-rufai.

 Governor Sani, however, said despite the huge debts burden he has not borrowed a single kobo in the last nine months of his government, but quickly added that the State cannot pay workers’ salaries for now.

He explained that N7 billion out of the N10 billion Federal Allocation for Kaduna State in the month of March was deducted to service the state’s debt.

The Governor further lamented that, “the state was left with N3billion, an amount which is not enough to pay salary, as the state’s monthly salary bill stands at N5.2billion.”

The Governor who disclosed this in Kaduna yesterday while addressing a Town Hall Meeting said the huge debt burden was eating deep into the state’s federal allocation.

He lamented that due to the rise in the exchange rate, Kaduna state is now paying back almost triple of what was borrowed by the previous administration of Nasir El-Rufai.

He, however, assured that debt burden not withstanding, his administration remains resolute in steering Kaduna State towards progress and sustainable development, as the government has conducted a thorough assessment of the situation and it is sharpening its focus accordingly.

His words:  “Despite the huge debt burden of 587 million Dollars, 85 billion Naira, and 115 Contractual Liabilities sadly inherited from the previous administration, we remain resolute in steering Kaduna State towards progress and sustainable development. We have conducted a thorough assessment of our situation and are sharpening our focus accordingly.

“It gladdens my heart to inform you that, despite the huge inherited debt on the state, till date, we have not borrowed a single kobo. 

“The key priority areas of our government include Safety and Security, Housing, Education, Healthcare, and Support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). We are also prioritizing inclusive development by investing in human capital, stimulating the economy, and providing affordable housing.”

On security, the governor said the state has made a lot of progress through revamping of the Kaduna State Vigilance Service (KADVS) by recruiting 7,000 additional personnel for the service, while over 100 operational vehicles and 100 motorcycles have been procured for distribution to KADVS and the Federal security agencies working in the state.

In the area of education, Sani said aside the establishment of several skills and vocational cities to address skills deficits in the state, his government in collaboration with Kuwait is working to reduce out of school children in Kaduna by 200,000., adding that, the four year program which will start in may or June 2024, is a 62 million dollar project that will build 102 new schools in Kaduna and renovate 170 existing ones within a span of four year.

For infrastructure, the governor also said that despite the numerous challenges confronting the state collective efforts were essential for Kaduna State’s progress. “We aspire to make rural living enjoyable and transform Kaduna into a premier business hub. Our ultimate goal is to rebuild trust and foster peace and harmony,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) urged efforts to address the security challenges facing the state, noting that without peace and security no meaningful development can be achieved.

He commended the governor for cutting cost of governance due to huge debt of the state, while calling on all residents to eschew political, religious or ethnic differences and support the state government in overcoming the debt challenge.

In his remarks, the Emir of Zazzau Ambassador Ahmad Nuhu Bamali said the despite the challenges facing the state, the governor has the capability to turn around the economy of the state for effective development.

He pledged the support of all traditional rulers in the state to ensure that the administration succeeds.

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