Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, Tuesday hinted that the 36 states governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) had commenced discussions with the Federal Government on the need to make use of Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and excess crude fund to increase the revenue allocations for the states in order to meet the current challenges facing them.
He also said the state was not insolvent because his administration has been able to meet all its financial obligations since he took over the mantle of leadership.
Ahmed, who dropped the hint in Ilorin yesterday while speaking with journalists on his monthly programme tagged: ‘Governor’s Explains’, said among such present challenges being faced by states are floods, economy and insecurity.
According to him, “there is no doubt that the present challenges called for such financial assistance from the Federal Government in order to bring new lease of life to Nigerians.”
He said: “The sovereign wealth fund and excess crude fund designed by the Federal Government to take care of the rainy days should be made available to states to solve some of the current challenges.”
Ahmed added that, “Modalities in supporting states required to be reviewed. The pressure we are facing today is not what past governments faced. Unfortunately, the resources made available to us by the Federal Government are almost less than what we had before. It’s putting a lot more pressure on us here.”
That’s why the Governors Forum has been putting pressure on the Federal Government.”
He stressed that, “Unfortunately, the Federal Government is coming up with a programme aimed at planning for the future to save money under Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and excess crude account for rainy day.”
His words: “What the NGF is trying to tell them now is that we are already at the rainy day. It’s already raining. If you go outside, you will see that it is raining. Which other rainy day are we waiting for? The fact is that the pressures are huge now. To us, it is how do we wait to save for the future when we are suffering right now? It comes to how much do we need to save for future and how much to put into today’s requirement so that we can sustainably grow to enjoy that future. That’s what we are faced with.
The NGF in its own wisdom has been putting pressure on the Federal Government and I think it is beginning to see wisdom in that too to see how to make some funds available to state governments to face the current challenges like weather, security and economic. These challenges were not there in the past. These challenges require additional funding to be able to surmount them.”
Ahmed therefore opined that, “Don’t forget that population in Nigeria is growing on daily basis. So, the current pressure on financial system is higher than what it used to be. So, it became imperative for the Federal Government to come to aid of states and which am sure the NGF has been putting a lot of pressure. It’s because you have not been seeing result from the pressure that you think NGF has not been too active.”
On the state of governance in Kwara, the governor said that, the state and local government has collaborated together in the construction of rural roads worth N2.2billion across the 16 local government councils in the state.
He said that, apart from this, the state government has supported the councils in the state with a huge sum of over N70million to offset some backlog salaries for the council workers in the state.
Ahmed who called for maintenance culture among all levels of government on roads said that, the development would add values to the growth of roads in the nation.
The governor therefore assured Kwarans that his administration would do everything possible within its limited resources so as to improve the socio well being of the populace and this would accelerate the socio economic development of the state.