At a meeting with elected councilors of 13 Local Government Councils in Nasarawa state last week, Governor Sule was quoted as advising the councilors and management of local government councils to focus more attention on initiating ideas on how to generate revenue in order for local government councils to be able to go beyond paying salaries.
While describing Nasarawa state as being among the most disadvantaged in terms of federal subvention and internally generated revenue, Governor Sule also highlighted three major debt burdens which the state must settle.
“The economy of the state is facing serious challenge with the dwindling federal revenue as it has to contend with settling three major debts namely: excess crude account debt, bailout funds and budget support, all collected between 2015-2018”, Governor Sule lamented.
Indeed, while we share the concern and sentiment of the governor on the need for the management of our various local government councils to create ideas on how to generate more revenue for their respective councils so that they do more than just paying of salaries, our major concern just as Governor Sule observed, is on the dwindling revenue arising from debts being paid by Nasarawa State in respect of excess crude accounts debts, bailout funds and budget support which without being told is being deducted from the state’ s statutory federal allocations.
Although, Governor Sule did not come out categorically to tell the world how much the people of Nasarawa state are coughing out through their federal allocations for these various debts, certainly the amount runs into billions of naira.
We in Nasarawa Eye are constrained to ask: are there any infrastructures in place in our state that are commensurate with these huge debts now hanging on the state’s necks? It is startling that just within three years (2015-2018), apart from our monthly statutory federal allocations, the state also received huge amounts of money from three sources listed as excess crude account, bailout funds and budget support, yet the people of the state are still wallowing in poverty and workers are without basic work incentives.
Governor Sule’s administration must with immediate effect set up a fact finding committee to not only ascertain the veracity or otherwise of these debts but also dig into how these monies were expended in the state. The investigation should also include expenditures of all the statutory monthly allocations to the state during the period. The committee must comprise people of proven integrity.
It is high time we woke up from slumber and chart a course that is not only beneficial to ourselves but to our children yet unborn. The way things are in the state, Governor A. A. Sule-led administration must put all pretensions aside and face the reality on ground.