Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Kwara state government plans to inject over N5.8billion into the state’s economy in the next 10 months through the state’s Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K).
The state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed gave this indication in Ilorin during the official launching of IF-K at the Government House, Ilorin.
He said this would go a long way at improving the economic development of the populace and thereby increasing the per capita income of the society through employment generation.
The event was attended by representatives of the partner banks, contractors, engineers, consultants and other important stakeholders.
The governor who expressed optimism that “this injection will keep our project partners in business said that, “the development would also bring a positive spiral effect on employment generation and economy of the state”.
He said that in the medium term, the remaining N5.3billion of government spending will boost the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for about 18 months while sustaining the multiplier impact on job creation.
According to the governor, with the launching of IF-K the era of abandoned projects in the state has become a thing of the past.
“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.
“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.
“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”, he said.
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 N5b 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”.
Ahmed 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.
Ahmed however said, “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 N9.4billion.
“This amount will be reduced on a quarterly basis until all debts are finally liquidated before the end of the administration”, he stressed.