Kingsley Fanwo, spokesman to Yayaha Bello, Kogi governor, will not plunge the state into debt.
Fanwo said this in reaction to report on how Bello secured loans amounting to over N16bn despite the Paris Club refunds and other federal government bailouts to the state.
But speaking with TheCable in an interview, Fanwo said it is normal for governments to borrow.
“Borrowing is a part of management. The most important thing is to ensure what was borrowed is invested in what will help the state rather than the manner in which borrowed funds were stolen in the past,” Fanwo said.
“I am sure the administration will not sink the state in debt. We are already repaying the ones borrowed and stolen by the previous administrations.
“We are funding a lot of projects right now ranging from road projects to health infrastructure and education.
“Sometimes, we also had to borrow to support the payment of salaries. But application for loan shouldn’t be mistaken as loan.
“The financial managers of the state would be in the best position to reel out figures as to the exact debt profile of the state.”
Fanwo said the state government is making efforts to better security, education and health sectors in the state.
He added that the administration of Bello has led Kogi from being the second most dirty to second cleanest state in the country.
“Hundreds of millions have gone into changing the security narratives we met on ground,” he said.
“The governor has completely changed the security architecture of the state and ensured criminals dread the state today. In the area of agriculture, a state of emergency was declared in the sector.
“We have been able to launch health programs that deliver both quality and reach. The poor now access top class healthcare services. The Governor has also launched a program to ensure serious cases are flown abroad at no cost to the affected persons.
“About 50 people have benefited from the program. It was initiated during the 25th Anniversary of the State in 2016.
“Our hospitals and clinics are now in top conditions and we have Healthcare Plus Centres in all the Local Government Areas of the State. The State Diagnostic Center is threatening to be the best in West Africa when completed.
“If you were in Kogi four years ago, come back and see what Government has done to our environment. From the second dirtiest state in Nigeria, we are now the second cleanest. We are not satisfied. We want to be the best.”
He also said the government had cleared salary backlogs up till March.
“We have paid salaries up to March 2018 and as soon as we have more funds, we will clear the arrears gradually. Availability of funds for projects, services and salaries have been very tough on states without derivation funds and huge taxes from big industries. But we shall continue to improvise to make workers and the citizens happy,” he said.
Asked what Bello was doing to reconcile aggrieved members of the state, including Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi-west, Fanwo said “the governor is not fighting Dino. He was elected to lead and not to fight anyone.
“He is the leader of all. There can’t be a cause to nothing. They are not at loggerheads.”