The Kwara State government has said that it has paid off the N17 billion infrastructure bond obtained in 2009 even as it prepares to obtain a fresh N20billion bond for new projects.
The state government, in a statement made available to journalists in Ilorin, on Thursday, by senior special assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Dr Muyideen Akorede, said the N17 billion bond was fully paid on August 5, 2014 following prompt payment to subscribers throughout the bond’s five year tenure.
The government insisted that repayment of the N17 billion bond, which was obtained by the previous administration of Dr Bukola Saraki, did not impose any undue burden on the state’s finances as the bond maintained at issue rating of A and issuer rating of BBB- which signified the superior credit profile of the Kwara State government.
The statement listed the N17 billion bond projects as Kwara State University, Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre, The International Aviation College, remodelling of Ilorin Stadium Complex, phase one of Ilorin Water Reticulation Project, the Ilorin Cargo Terminal, as well as various urban and rural road and electrification projects.
Stressing that long term borrowing such as bonds are cheaper and more reliable means of funding major capital projects, the state government maintained than the proposed N20 billion would finance innovative projects such as dualisation of Michael Imoudu to Ganmo Road, part-completion of Kishi-Kaiama Road, the indoor sports Hall of Ilorin Stadium and the new campuses for Kwara State University at Osi and Ilesa.
Other proposed projects are new secondary school classrooms across the state, equipment for the International Vocational Centre, Ajase Ipo, remodelling of General Hospital, Oro as well as cottage hospitals, the state’s counterpart funding for an Industrial Park which will generate 3000 local jobs, provision of electricity transformers and take-off of Contributory Pension scheme which is a precondition for accessing other infrastructure funds.
He also said that the proposed bond was a necessity given the challenges in the national economy and huge drop in monthly allocation, which has limited government’s ability to fund new infrastructure, as well as the urgent need to begin closing the Kwara Infrastructure Gap which is estimated at more than N200 billion.