opinionBy Bala B. Bitrus
The administration of Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu has in the last six years ensured that despite several encumbrances, its presence is not only felt across the state but also vividly seen. Across the spectrums and sectors of the state, there are eloquent indices that speak for the administration.
From the invisible to the visible, the improvement in the capacity building of the working class in the state's civil service, development and upgrade in potable water supply, in rural electrification projects, provision of more educational opportunity and facilities, health care delivery centres, roads infrastructure including street lightening, security of lives and properties, creation of job opportunities, construction of mass housing estates, empowerment of especially women and youth.
The list is near endless, yet the administration is not done yet. Governor Aliyu believes perfection and sufficiency are not yet known to man. He believes there are lots of rooms for not only improvement but for addition in more of service delivery to the citizens. That is why the taps are now running, the streets are not only paved, but the roads are mostly expanded and dualized in some places and lit with high tower street lightening facilities. The same drive has also led to the renovation of all health care delivery centres across the state, the construction of three additional General Hospitals, the upgrading of all rural health care centres and the recalibration of the specialized hospital in Minna to handle peculiar and referral medical and health care challenges.
It is the administration's drive for a better place for all and its penchant for qualitative education that has led it to make education free and pursue a deliberate policy of gender sensitivity for the girl-child and compulsory education that has led to an astronomical rise in the number of enrollment of children of school going ages in both primary and secondary schools across the state to all time high level of over 1. 5million.
In the last five years, the present administration has committed itself to ensuring capital development of the state and particularly for the provision of infrastructure and amenities to better the lots and enhance the level of development of the state and its citizens across the board. Of particular note is that in 2010, the administration spent N11,582,219,907.82 on capital development, in 2012 it quadrupled that amount for capital development with a whopping provision of N47,950,882,887.00 while in the current fiscal year, N12,065,393,068.00 is billed for capital expenditure.
These figures excluding those budgeted for and expended in the previous years (2008 and 2009) for capital developments, which have helped in beautifying and reshaping the landscapes of urban centres fund including rural areas across the state via a novel development idea introduced by the government tagged urban renewal and Ward Development projects. These have scaled up the state of infrastructural development of the state.
Hard pressed to change the face of the state from its squalid back street image, the administration in 2010 went to the capital market to shop for a N6 Billion Bond to speed up the spread of infrastructure for development in parts of the state. It again returned to the capital markets in 2011 to collect another N90 Billion for the provision of more infrastructure and expansion of existing ones to cope with the development needs of the state.
The N90 billion credit facility, which is being disbursed in segments by the issuing banks are for general infrastructures, provision of amenities, utility services and other capital projects. N30 Billion of the money was first drawn and is currently being used for that purpose.
Governor Aliyu explained last week while fielding questions from a media man that collecting Bonds for capital projects execution was a fool proof way of checkmating corruption in public expenditure since the issuing financial houses must recoup their monies from source on first line charge monthly.
And realizing that the government alone cannot fund the needed development, Governor Aliyu introduced the concept of partnership with private sector players for the development of the state. The aim is to fast tract development, save cost in the provision of infrastructure and development of the state.
Though development imperatives in the state are ever increasing, such also is the population spawning in the face of decaying infrastructure while existing ones have become inadequate and yet faced with a narrowing resource availability to spin development. The dialectics of this is that while the challenges are ever increasing, the agitations for change are on the rise but the wherewithal is in a growing short supply.
With just a little over N2.8 Billion monthly capital receipts as subvention, the administration is prudently managing its resources in responding to the myriad of challenges for change for a better society. But spin doctors and adverseries are not at rest. They cooked up issues and figures and rent the airwaves and headlines on national dailies just to be heard with trumped up allegations in order to hoodwink the mass of the people.
Bala B. Bitrus is the Deputy Press Secretary to Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State