Yero handed over empty treasury in Kaduna, says El-Rufai

Nasir El-Rufai,

Nasir El-Rufai,

Governor Nasir El-Rufai has refuted claim by former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, that he left N8 billion in the treasury, saying the account was in deficit.

El-Rufai, during a press briefing at the Government House to dismiss the claim by Yero, said the funds in question was counterpart funds committed to various projects being executed by multilateral agencies.

Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the governor, Mallam Samuel Aruwan, who spoke on behalf of his boss, said: “I am here to dismiss claims by the former deputy governor of our state, Mr. Nuhu Audu Bajoga that the last government left over N8 billion as working money in the accounts of Kaduna State government.

“The Mukhtar Ramalan Yero’s government actually left the state in deficit. The Kaduna State government had N228,333,371.67 in its central account on 29 May 2015. This represents the working capital that could be spent. All other items in the bank balance are committed funds, and are not available to be spent by government. These include counterpart and reserve funds clearly earmarked for specific purposes such as MDGs, SUBEB, Sure-P and state pensions, and as such cannot be termed available funds by any responsible government.

“It is pretty disingenuous to infer that a state that is in obvious dire straits has robust finances or to delude to a conclusion that N8 billion on paper is available in reality.”

According to El-Rufai, “the Yero government that Bajoga served also incurred outstanding liabilities of N370million by May 2015, that effectively leaves the state in deficit as the working capital of slightly over N228m cannot cover the liability”.

Besides, on the verification exercise of Kaduna State workers, the governor’s aide remarked that “the Kaduna State government’s verification processes are still ongoing, as poor record-keeping and deliberate attempts to conceal information about the exact financial status of the state have hindered the pace of work of the finance sub-committee of our transition committee.

“Once the verification process is concluded, the governor will address the state on the financial state of affairs, and will invite anyone with contrary evidence to disprove the analysis.”

He disclosed that “as a consequence of the government’s conviction that the state is broke, it has decided to cut costs and focus the state’s resources on priority areas. That is why it has restructured ministries and cut the number of political appointees. The merchants of division who thrive in reading sectional motives to policy decisions will not deter this government from committing funds to building schools, hospitals and roads and providing security around state.”

El-Rufai explained the government’s stand on establishing a new university, saying “the state is currently unable to optimally fund its one university. It is therefore not in a position to start another university. Bajoga should have had the candour to admit that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government’s promise to establish a state university in southern Kaduna was just a gimmick as they neither bothered to send an enabling bill to the House of Assembly nor include it in the 2015 budget.”

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