The recent launching of Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K), marked the dawn of a new era in the effort to bring infrastructure to the door steps of the people of the state.
It is observed that through the scheme, the state government will over the next 10 months, inject over N5.8b into the state’s economy as part of an overall plan to boost economic growth and development through aggressive overhaul of infrastructures across the state.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed who addressed a teeming audience including representatives of banks, contractors, engineers, consultants and other critical stakeholders during the official launching of IF-K at the Government House, Ilorin, said the launch underscored government’s resolve to radically change the narrative as far as infrastructural development of the budding state was concerned.
Ahmed expressed optimism that “this injection will keep our project partners in business and have a positive spiral effect on employment generation”.
He said that in the medium term, the remaining N5.3b of government spending will boost the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for about 18 months while sustaining the multiplier impact on job creation.
In a speech that is laced with words suggesting government’s determination to act, Governor Ahmed said with the launching of IF-K, the era of abandoned projects was over in the state.
“As a demonstration of this determination, all ongoing and new projects will be funded to completion under the IFK before the end of my tenure” he said adding “Once the rains are over, we will commence major projects in the road, education, energy and health sectors across the state in a manner that accelerates development and ensures its even distribution”
Continuing, the governor said “we will start with the flagging off of the construction of a Diamond Underpass at Geri Alimi, Ilorin and the commissioning of our newly-acquired Asphalt plant”.
Ahmed explained that his desire for rapid infrastructure growth and the need for an appropriate savings and investment mechanism solely for infrastructure and related works informed the establishment of IF-K.
He said IF-K is the second phase of his government’s long term strategy to diversify the state’s economy, stimulate economic growth via private sector participation in infrastructure development and create opportunities for collective prosperity.
“The purpose of the IF-K, therefore, is to pool funds for infrastructure projects, optimally leverage private sector resources for infrastructure development and channel State Internal Revenue to directly impact economic diversification and growth strategies.
“IF-K is also designed to ensure maximum quality assurance for asset and services procured by government and encourage broader and deeper interactions with Kwara state government from private and non-private partners.
“The fund will be financed through a N5 billion seed fund and a N500 million monthly contribution from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue through an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO).
“This implies that the money will be taken at source from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue and provides an additional layer of assurance to project partners. Additional non- IGR funds, such as those from the federal government and global development partners will be added to IF-K as they become available.
“Under IFK, funds will be disbursed on a quarterly basis, and are projected to grow by N6 billion by the end of the year. In order to ensure accountability, and insulate the funds from political control, the IF-K will be managed by a reputable investment company, Investment One, which has been appointed by law as trustee for the scheme.
“In my second inaugural speech, I made a commitment to transform Kwara State into the North Central’s new frontier of prosperity through major infrastructure development and better opportunities for our people. By the grace of God, I will deliver on that commitment because where others see economic challenges, we see opportunity to innovate and thrive”.
The governor said that the government would continue to fund smaller projects through other platforms as only projects worth N300m and above will be included on the IF-K payment grid.
He said following yesterday’s launch, the payment grid will commence in December, this year with all ongoing and new projects targeted for completion by December, 2018. He added that the total value of ongoing project debts to be addressed through IF-K is estimated at about N11.1b.
“As a demonstration of faith and a token of our commitment to pay all outstanding contractor debts, we have disbursed N1.7b to significantly reduce current debt to contractors. The balance to be paid from IF-K is estimated at N9.4b.
“This amount will be reduced on a quarterly basis until all debts are finally liquidated before the end of the administration”, the governor stated.
In his remarks, the Chief Economic Assistant to the state governor, Abayomi Ogunshola said IF-K was designed to make Kwara stronger stressing “Kwara as from today has moved from the local league, we are now international because of the IF-K”.
Speaking during the occasion, the representative of one of the banks that witnessed the launch, Bayo Glover, said the scheme would put the state ahead in the scheme of thing in Nigeria.
Glover said, the scheme guarantees prompt payment of the contractors because the release of funds through the IF-K is certain, adding that the problem of abandoned project was over in the state.
Obviously corroborating what Glover said, one Demola Adeyemi, a staff of one of the second generation Banks described the initiative of the government as highly commendable. He noted that the scheme “gives the financial partners to government a lot of confidence”.
Other investment analysts and experts who spoke at the event included the Managing Director of Investment One, Nicholas Gamali, who said the scheme was done to bequeath a lasting legacy to the state.
“The fund will ensure that developmental projects are on course, even after the end of the tenure of the present government. It’s a permanent solution to funding infrastructure in the state” he enthused.
In his good will message, the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah described the scheme as very important to the development of the fast growing university.
“Today is an important day for Kwara State University – an history making day that will impact greatly on the future of KWASU. I had the honour and special privilege to review this government plan and it was clear the brilliance and exceptional talents and vision that went into its development. I am sure other states would come to copy this programme /plan”
The VC assured both Governor Ahmed and indeed the good people of Kwwara state the it will never regret the quantum investment in sank and still being sink to KWASU
“The university understands clearly its responsibility to this state, and our nation and to humanity. KWASU will be a source of enormous wealth and development to Kwara”
“Because of your continued belief and investment in your university, be assured that KWASU is in a match, through its research, collaboration with industry and training of young Nigerians to create wealth, no matter their areas of discipline, to making Kwara the number one choice for investment, for industries and those searching for a noble education for their children”, he added.