Kogi State Commissioner for Finance and Budget Planning, Asiwaju Asiru Idris has described as unfortunate the brazen attacks by gunmen within days in Isanlu and along Lokoja-Abuja Road in an interactive session as the Personality on Patriots Chat on Okun Patriots Platform.He declared the sad incidents as a devastating personal loss while stating that His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is not a man who shy away from challenges and currently rigging the security architecture and doing everything possible to restore the confidence of Kogites in the ability of government to guarantee the security of lives and properties. He assured there will be improvement in the coming weeks.
Asiwaju Asiru Idris asserted that the pre-GYB era in terms of security of lives and property is more brutal, heinous and porous than the commendable milestones under the present administration.
He said that the government is indeed perturbed and heartbroken by the recent crime and criminality, but assured that the Governor is leaving no stone unturned to make sure sanity returns.
As an award winner on Security, the Governor has charged the various security agencies in the state to roll up their sleeves, using resources and the networks from the headquarters to make sure all lapses in our security architecture is not only blocked but devise a strategic surveillance, intelligence gathering means to over run the criminals and their sinister tendencies.
On the concerns expressed by some individuals on the debt status of the State, Asiwaju Asiru Idris declared that Kogi State’s debt is sustainable as Kogi State Debt Sustainability Analysis at the end of the 2019 financial year is 110.5%. And the Fiscal Sustainability Plan recommended 250% while World Bank SFTAS PforR recommended 140%.
Asiwaju Asiru Idris said, bailout and refunds were used for specific purposes with disbursements published in line with the State government’s commitment to probity and accountability.
‘What the LGA staff are taking today is as a result of the allocation and other revenues coming into their coffers coupled with the reality that LGAs are over staffed; a hard fact many are avoiding. We pray for improved revenue so that they can pay more. ‘ Asiwaju Asiru Idris pronounced.
In response to complaints arising from the screening exercise, Asiwaju Asiru Idris said they are not new issues as issues come up everyday because the civil service is a continuum. Some issues happened last month. Some will still happen next month. The issue of trying to shortchange the system is serious. So we will keep addressing them. ‘Recall, former Minister of Finance Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala started the issue of ghost workers and up till now,the present Minister of Finance Hajia Zainab S. Ahmed is still battling with it.
Reacting to claims that the Omi Ricemill Project is a mirage, Asiwaju Asiru Idris said the primary reason why Government invested in the project was to create employment and since the project started operations, it has been able to keep over 500 direct and indirect Kogites in steady employment, hence the sustainability plan is working perfectly. He asserted that though the secondary reason is to generate IGR, once the privatization process is put in place then expected steady income from the mill will be a reality. The project was well thought but at this stage, the state needs to consider privatization because in order for the mill to produce at optimal capacity, operational funds of over 2b is required for the mill to source raw material.
For uninterrupted production, 3000 tons of paddy rice is required per month at N170,000 per ton and at least 5 months stock raw materials are needed.
With the private sector, there are intervention funds available from CBN to cater for raw material purchasing called Paddy Aggregation Scheme that can only be accessed by the private sector.
Asiwaju Asiru Idris posited that Omi Ricemill is a massive and legacy project with multifaceted benefits capable of solving existential problems of unemployment, food insecurity and uninspiring Economic outlook around Okunland majorly.
He therefore declared that it is a miscarriage of judgement to say nothing tangible has been done or call it’s benefits a mirage.
On the plight of pensioners in the State, the Commissioner for Finance said those cleared have been paid last month with a request for details of any individual yet to be paid while expressing the government’s desire to clear all pension related debts and backlogs as the finances of the state improves,
He declared that just last week,the State inaugurated the KOGI STATE PENSION COMMISSION to take care of both the state and local government pensioners which in essence means commencement of Contributory Pension Scheme for a lasting solution.
On Osara Farms, some investors from Turkey were received and they have visited the Greenhouse Project to see how they can be of help.
The decision of the State is to privatise the farm project and also to expand it on a PPP model.
The investors will be coming back by July to kick start the expansion job and training of our youths.
Asiwaju Asiru Idris asserted there are marginal improvements in advancing the livelihood and wellbeing of Kogites despite the enormous challenges at hand. He noted that indisputably, there are still more grounds to cover. But if perfection can’t be attained, excellence is largely commendable.
He assured that when the conscientiously laid down plans in the Agricultural sector, youth and women empowerment and mineral resources development are consummated, the economic renaissance as envisaged in the New direction blueprint would have been achieved and Kogites will be happy for such beneficial strides.
He craved the understanding, patience and prayers of Kogites for the government to enable it actualize the numerous programs in place for the overall development of the State.