Former speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, and the Peoples Democratic Party governorship aspirant in the 2019 general election, Barrister Razak Atunwa, has decried the state government’s plan to take a loan of N35 billion.
Reacting to the document released by the state government which provide a breakdown of the purpose of the loan, Atunwa in issued on Tuesday, described the move as a sham.
The statement of the state government, according to him, reads more like a poorly written kindergarten pamphlet. “For a document designed to satisfy strict requirements of various legislation, it fails abysmally.
“Quite apart from the grammatical and typographical blunders it contains, the document is riddled with incongruity and befuddlement.
“First. Clearly, whoever concocted that document is incapable of simple arithmetic. In summary, the document gives a breakdown as follows: “Infrastructure 13bn”; “Industrial park and Textile Production N5bn”; “Agriculture 7bn”; “A cumulative sum of 15bn will be spent on Education, Health, Entertainment and creative sectors”. By my reckoning this gives a total of N40bn. So which are we to believe: does the Governor want to borrow N35bn or is it N40bn?, ” he wrote.
The former House of Representatives member stated that the error in the document is more than merely arithmetical. “It is an insight into the insincerity with which the government is preparing to plunge Kwara State into debt in an unjustifiable,unsustainable unaccountable manner,” he added.
Furthermore, he pointed out some cogent areas which the document fails to address, adding that the proposed loan was not included in the 2021 Budget submitted by the Governor and passed by the House.
“Second. For a document purporting to provide a breakdown, it actually raises more questions than it answers. For example, it fails to list the so called “37 road projects across the three senatorial district”. One would have expected to see each road listed together with a cost estimate for its construction.
“The Ministry of Works should have prepared a Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME). The same goes for all the so called projects listed in the document. Figures seem to have simply been plucked out of the thin air to arrive at a predetermined amount. The document hardly fulfils the “cost-benefit analysis” required by federal legislation.
“Third. It is an indispensable requirement that any such loan must be provided for in the Appropriation Law, i.e. the Budget. Sections 120 and 121 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is abundantly clear that no moneys shall be received or spent by the state government without an appropriation law.
“Section 44 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 also makes the same
requirement. So does Sections 223 and 224 of the Investment and Securities Act 2007.
“This proposed loan is nowhere to be found in the 2021 Budget submitted by the Governor and passed by the House. This is evidence of further illegality by this government on a grand scale. I dare say that the approved 2021 Appropriation Law is a public document. Any attempt to doctor its contents to insert a provision for this loan will be most glaring indeed, ” he concluded.174