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PDP Kicks As Kwara Cabinet Seeks Virement For Additional Infrastructure In N27.2b Bond

Kwara State Executive Council has approved a request by the state Ministry of Finance seeking virement to commit more funds to road projects in the N27.2b bond recently obtained by the state government.

The cabinet described it as a step to further open up the state for more investments.

The cabinet’s approval, according to a statement by the Commissioner for Communications, Bode Towoju, in Ilorin on Tuesday, followed a memorandum presented by the Commissioner for Finance, Florence Olasumbo Oyeyemi.

The approval, which was granted at the last State Executive Council meeting chaired by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, will now go to the House of Assembly for concurrence.

Under the cabinet approval, the government is seeking to allocate at least N4bn of the N7bn earlier allotted to agro-processing of cashews in the bond to infrastructural projects, especially in the rural (agrarian) areas to boost investment potentials and job creation.

The bond is strictly regulated for the sake of accountability and review of any amounts allocated to each project listed and must follow due process, including cabinet and Parliament approval which must then be green-lighted by the bond issuers.

In a reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, alleged that the virement was another avenue to siphon Kwara State resources.

A statement by the spokesman of the party, Prince Tunji Moronfoye in Ilorin on Tuesday, expressed shock and dismay at the reprehensible and worrying actions of the state government on issues of virement of certain items of the bond funds obtained by the state government.

“Virement, in any budget, is a process of transferring items from one financial account to another. We call to question the hurriedly obtained bond approved by the Kwara House of Assembly in the short time span of 24 hours.

“To date, the Kwara APC government is yet to answer precisely the exact projects the bond was obtained for.

“They are unable to express clearly the cost of each item on the bond. Instead, we are assuaged with pedestrian, weak and lacklustre explanations of what the bond will be used,” the party added.

It said a trip down memory lane showed in clear detail what past administrations had done with the bonds obtained or proposed in the state.

According to the PDP, “when Dr Bukola Saraki’s administration obtained a bond, every single project was listed and no virement was used. Each project was clearly listed with its locations and individual costs to the last Kobo.

” These projects included the Kwara State University, Malete KWASU, and Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre, Ilorin among others,” the spokesman stated.

The party further noted that under former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s government, an unsuccessful attempt was made to access a bond for N20b but was not approved by the then Kwara House of Assembly despite having a composition of a total majority on the side of the then governor.

Rather, the House of Assembly recommended that Abdulfatah Ahmed look inwards for his financial needs,” which led to the creation of the present Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, KWIRS.

Similarly, the cabinet approved a memorandum to allow private investments and management of the struggling Kwara Hotel to renovate and turn around the fortune of the hospitality facility under a term that creates more value and protects the interest of the public.

The terms will not include the sale of the facility or its use as collateral to seek loans of any type.

The cabinet’s approval for Kwara Hotel will also go to the House of Assembly for its own scrutiny and approval in line with the due process.

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