Kwara tackles infrastructural deficiency with contributory funding

The present concern of most residents of Kwara State is that the current government’s approach to tackling infrastructural deficiency and decay in most parts of the state, and Ilorin, the state capital, in particular, must bring about the desired result and expectation.

The reality is that the present state of infrastructures such as township roads, classrooms, streetlight, provision of potable water, health facilities, is calling for improvement or urgent repair.

The situation, nevertheless, has become nagging worries to residents as well as impeding socio-economic growth and efficiency.

With growth in population in many parts of the state, occasioned by comparative peaceful nature of the area, the existing infrastructure has been stressed, resulting in such social hiccups as traffic gridlock at Gerin Alimi Roundabout, heavy road traffics at Taiwo, Challenge, Unity, Offa Garage, Tanke areas as well as in other parts of the state capital.

It was also gathered that many township roads have gone bad with potholes littering many of them in such areas as Kulende, Olorunsogo, Sabo Oke, Gaa Akanbi, Tanke, Offa Garage, Sawmill, while many rural roads are also calling for urgent attention.

The state government, in its wisdom at tackling the situation, despite the recession in the land and dwindling federal allocation accruable to the state, conceived an idea of an infrastructural development fund (IF-K) and actually launched the scheme during the week. With this scheme, it plans to set aside N500 million every month in a pool that will be managed by a committee comprising partnering banks, contractors and investment professionals and then carry out implementation of earmarked infrastructural development in partnership with private sectors.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme in Ilorin, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said that the purpose of the IF-K was to pool funds for infrastructural projects and optimally leverage private sector resources for infrastructural development and channel state internal revenue to directly impact economic diversification and growth strategies.

“IF-K is also designed to ensure maximum quality assurance for asset and services procured by government and encourage broader and deeper interactions with the Kwara State government from private and non-private partners.

“The fund will be financed through a N5billion seed fund and N500 million monthly contributions from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue through an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO). This implies that the money will be taken at source from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue and provides an additional layer of assurance to project partners. Additional non-IGR funds, such as those from the Federal Government and global development partners will be added to IF-K as they become available.

“Under IFK, funds will be disbursed on a quarterly basis, and are projected to grow by N6 billion by the end of the year. In order to ensure accountability, and insulate the funds from political control, the IF-K will be managed by a reputable investment company, Investment One, which has been appointed by law as trustee for the scheme.

Investment One is also to market the fund to potential investors and mitigate against payment risks by ring-fencing the funds and limiting their utilisation to the approved purposes for which they have been earmarked.

“In other words, the trustees are independent of the state government, and will only disburse funds upon the presentation of a certified certificate of completion and at agreed project milestones.

As an added measure to ensure quality standards, the certificate of completion is also subject to further authentication by an independent project inspector. IF-K is therefore not susceptible to interference from any other party”, he said.

Governor Ahmed, who said that his government would continue to fund smaller projects through other platforms, added that only projects worth N300 million and above would be included on the IF-K payment grid.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who said that the state government alone could no longer fund infrastructural projects, described the state infrastructure development fund scheme as permanent solution to funding capital projects and discouraging abandoned projects.

Governor Ahmed said that the desire for rapid infrastructure growth, and need for an appropriate savings and investment mechanism solely for infrastructure and related works led to the establishment of the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K).

He also said that his administration would implement a N5 billion street light infrastructural project under public private partnership (PPP) arrangement through the IF-K scheme, adding that the contract to be sited in major parts of the state would be signed in October.

The state government has also flagged off construction of a N3.7 billion Geri-Alimi Split Diamond Underpass in Ilorin as part of efforts to decongest traffic in the state capital.

The governor, at the flag off, said the project, to be funded through the newly launched Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK), is expected to be completed within an 18 month timeline.

According to the Governor, the underpass, when completed, will not only ease flow of traffic but add aesthetic value to the Geri-Alimi axis of the metropolis.