By Sodiq Yusuf
The Social Investment Programmes under the immediate past administration in the State of Osun did not in any way over-burden the finances, but ensured mass prosperity and influenced the economic development of the state.
Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said this while reacting to insinuations on how the massive investment in infrastructure and social welfare of his administration culminated in the debt profile of the state in a virtual colloquium organized by a group of individuals in commemoration of his 63rd birthday last Saturday.
Aregbesola said, “there is this (chorus of) debt, debt and debt: a motivated people can never be in debt regardless of the size and I must correct something, we did not use debt to fund any of our social programmes.
“The bulk of the debt that was overhanging now is the debt incurred on overdraft of salaries, the loans we took from the capital markets were directed at development – physical and human.
“And I must say, we have liquidated the Security and Exchanged Commission loan which was called vanilla bond by the end of last year. We are liquidating Sukuk bond 11.4 Billion Naira by November of this year.
“So, what it means is that, in terms of the actual debt we took to fund development, there is no issue at all.”
The former governor of Osun stated further: “The issue we have is in the money we had to take from the commercial bank which we had transferred through the instrumentality of the Governors’ Forum and the other measures that came into helping government by our president to absolve the bond as Federal Government bond with a long-term of 19-20 years which we are now paying.
“By the time we finish paying the Sukuk bond by November this year, the state will be relieved and don’t forget, if as it is said, we are doing so well in a lot of things, definitely, it will translate into Internally-Generated Revenue. And that will help.”