Kogi State Government on Wednesday announced its intention to borrow $100 million to finance some projects that would quicken the socio-economic development of the state.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Idris Ashiru, told newsmen in Lokoja shortly after the state executive council meeting that officials from the state had visited the Senate to defend the request.
When obtained, he said part of the money would be used to revive the National Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) at Alape in Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area of the state.
” The $100 million, when accessed will be used to build roads, construct electricity and other social amenities within the Alape Crop Processing Zone.
“This will in turn make the place and the state accessible to investors to come in and do agricultural businesses; a development that will generate income and employments for the state,” he said.
The commissioner said that indigenes should not be alarmed unnecessarily about the plan to source the loan, saying that the state economy was buoyant enough to accommodate the loan and others already obtained.
“Yes, we can still borrow. The fiscal sustainability of the state give rooms for borrowing. If the state debt has not gone beyond 250 per cent of its income then, it can still borrow. Kogi is presently on 147 per cent.
“Also, a state who is not using more than 40 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR) to service loan can still borrow.
“Kogi State is presently using only 28 per cent of its IGR to service loan. We still have a difference of 12 per cent to borrow.
“We are not borrowing for consumption. We are borrowing to build capital projects.
“This is in line with the state governor’s fight against insecurity. Because if you don’t provide food security then any fight against insecurity will be a mirage,” he explained.
The commissioner told newsmen that the council also approved the creation of a new Department of International Cooperation to coordinate funds from World Bank and other donor agencies.
He said all ministries were also mandated to look inward and contribute to the economic development of the state in line with the fiscal discipline directive of the governor’s agenda.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, said the state government had directed security agencies to put in place measures to ensure the security of lives and property.
“The state has also set up an empowerment program for youths and women to address poverty in the state,” he said.