Ganduje, Kwankwaso trade words over loan for light rail project

Gov. Ganduje

Kano state government says there is no going back on its intention to access loan for the construction of  Light Rail Transit Project in Metropolitan Kano, saying it was a project conceived after due consultations with major stakeholders in the state.

This was contained in a press release issued by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, in a swift reaction to a statement by the Kwankwasiyya Movement on the project.

The statement indicated that no amount of criticism would deter the government from carrying out laudable projects that aimed at transforming Kano to a Mega City.

“The light rail project, apart from other benefits, is designed to expand commercial activities, and ease transportation of agricultural goods and services across the state for the benefit of the good people of our dear state,” the statement read in part.

The commissioner pointed out that since the foreign loan has already been approved by the China Export-Import Bank, government would go ahead with the project.

He stated that all the due processes are being followed which include getting approval from the state House of Assembly and clearance from the relevant federal agencies and the National Assembly.

The commissioner further explained that the Kwankwasiyya position on the project was not in any way surprising considering that the movement never appreciated anything no matter how well thought out by the APC administration in Kano.

“Kwankwassiyya Movement, which has been overawed by the uncommon achievements of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje administration in all facets of development, and particularly, the initiation and execution of mega projects, is now afraid of its shadows,” he said.

Kwankwaso’s position 

A former Kano State Governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, on Monday kicked against the plan by the State Government to obtain €684,100,100 equivalent to about N339bn loan facility from the China Development Bank.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Deputy Gubernatorial Candidate in the 2019 and Spokesperson of the Kwankwasiyya Movement, Comrade Aminu Abdulsalam told newsmen on Monday in Abuja that they have written to the National Assembly to reject the Governor Umar Ganduje’s administration’s loan request.

According to him, they have also requested the Debt Management Office (DMO) to save the state from being plunged into more debts by the proposed loan.

Comrade Aminu Abdulsalam said that aside from worsening the economic situation in the state, there were a lot of procedural violations associated with the proposed loan.

“The proposed project is ill-conceived white elephant project coming at a time of global economic crisis compounded by the Covid-19 Pandemic,” he said.

He added that the rail project was conceived without due cognizance of the technical and other financial requirements as contained in the country’s procurement law.

He said the proposed borrowing is equivalent to about 15 years of the state’s total internally generated revenue and more than two years of its budgetary allocation.

He said: “It is disheartening and disappointing to note that with the current exchange rate regime, the rising poverty level and the devastating impact of COVID-19 Pandemic, Kano State Government has concluded plans to mortgage the future of the present and incoming generations, by committing them into a perpetual debt at the expense of their Education, Health and other social safety net investment.

“The repayment period for the proposed Loan could take up to 50 years or more.

“The state government has ignorantly contracted and agreed to sign an agreement with the financiers of the project, even when they were advised by the technical experts to defer the said project bearing in mind the deficiency of other complementary inputs such as power and the apparent heavy attraction of compensation from structures likely to be demolished.

“It also does not have a technical and financial appraisal as the loan is only intended to finance the rail track without taking care of the rolling stocks, dedicated power, and provision of rail stations. This development has negated all the thought and perception of the good people of Kano State especially the Kwankwasiyya Movement.”

He added, “In view of the foregoing, therefore, our party PDP and our group the Kwankwasiyya Movement in Kano State have resolved to intimate the public on this unfortunate happening in our State and to once again say that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Kano State totally disassociate itself from this ill-informed and ill-conceived plan of Kano State Government.

“It is to our dismay that the Government that is supposed to protect and promote the collective wishes and aspirations of its citizens has derailed and embarked on reckless borrowing spree from both local and international financiers.”

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