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Kaduna: We Inherited Over N85bn in Debts and We Can’t Pay Salaries Now – Uba Sani

We Inherited N85bn in Debts, Can’t Pay Salaries - Uba Sani

Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State disclosed the staggering debt burden his administration inherited from the previous government, amounting to $587 million, N85 billion, and 115 contractual liabilities. Addressing a Town Hall Meeting in Kaduna on Saturday, Governor Sani expressed concerns over the immense financial obligations, which have significantly impeded the state’s ability to meet its financial obligations, including the payment of workers’ salaries.

Despite the formidable debt challenge, Governor Sani emphasized his administration’s steadfast commitment to fiscal responsibility, asserting that not a single kobo has been borrowed during the first nine months of his tenure. The governor lamented the adverse impact of the debt burden on the state’s finances, particularly its monthly Federal Allocation, which has been substantially depleted to service outstanding debts.

Governor Sani underscored the detrimental effects of the fluctuating exchange rate, which has inflated the state’s debt repayment obligations. He revealed that a substantial portion of the state’s March Federal Allocation, amounting to N7 billion out of N10 billion, was deducted for debt servicing purposes, leaving insufficient funds to cover essential expenses such as workers’ salaries, which stand at N5.2 billion monthly.

Nevertheless, Governor Sani assured citizens that despite the formidable debt burden, his administration remains resolute in its commitment to advancing the state’s progress and sustainable development. He affirmed that a comprehensive assessment of the state’s financial situation has been conducted, guiding the government’s strategic focus moving forward.

The governor’s declaration comes in the wake of the handover from former Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who disclosed leaving behind a domestic debt of N80.60 billion and a foreign debt of $577.32 million. Despite the fiscal challenges inherited, Governor Sani outlined his administration’s key priorities for 2024, including safety and security, infrastructural development, education, housing and urban development, social intervention, and investment drive.

In addressing security concerns, Governor Sani highlighted the significant progress made in revamping the Kaduna State Vigilance Service (KADVS), with the recruitment of 7,000 additional personnel and procurement of operational vehicles and motorcycles for enhanced security operations. The governor emphasized the pivotal role of peace and security in facilitating meaningful development within the state.

On the education front, Governor Sani unveiled collaborative efforts with Kuwait aimed at reducing the number of out-of-school children in Kaduna State by 200,000. The ambitious four-year program, slated to commence in May or June 2024, involves a $62 million initiative to construct 102 new schools and renovate 170 existing ones, addressing skill deficits and enhancing educational opportunities for residents.

In attendance at the Town Hall event were prominent figures including former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd), who underscored the imperative of addressing security challenges to facilitate development. Similarly, the Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmad Nuhu Bamali, expressed confidence in Governor Sani’s ability to navigate the state through its current challenges and drive economic transformation for effective development.

As Kaduna State grapples with significant fiscal hurdles, Governor Sani’s commitment to prudent financial management and strategic development initiatives offers hope for the state’s socio-economic advancement. With concerted efforts and effective governance, Kaduna State remains poised to overcome its challenges and emerge stronger towards a prosperous future.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.
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