Text of a Press Statement Issued by Hon. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar – 22 September, 2014
It is no longer news that Bauchi State Government, BASG has applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC for approval to enable her raise a whooping N15 billion bond from the capital market. The problem is not in the bond itself but, what it is purportedly intended for. On 15 September, 2014, Thisday newspaper reported that; “In specific terms, Bauchi State will use N5.848 billion for the completion of the international airport; N2.030 billion for the completion of the specialist hospital; and N6.338 billion for the refinancing of bank loans. About N1.148 billion is the cost of the issue”.
A Daily Trust newspaper report of 28 June, 2012 quoted the BASG under Governor Isa Yuguda to have said that it has “awarded contract for the construction of a 300-bed specialist hospital in Bauchi at the cost of N2.5 billion” and that, “a 70 percent down payment of N1.8 billion has been made and the contractor mobilized to site”. In another report on 26 January, 2013, in the same newspaper, Governor Isa Yuguda was quoted to have said; “….following due process and diligence, the construction of the airport was awarded to Messrs Triacta Nigeria Limited at a total cost of N7,998,595,433.13…”, and that the government has made “…a down payment of 70 percent (N5,599,016,803.19), of the total contract sum to the contractors”.
In a text of a ministerial press briefing on the achievements of the Bauchi State Ministry for Local Government Affairs in the six years of the administration of Governor Isa Yuguda in 2012, the Commissioner of the Ministry, Abubakar Ahmed Faggo disclosed to newsmen that his Ministry has provided all the N2.5 billion total contract sum for the construction of the specialist hospital, Bauchi and, N5 billion (about 70 percent) for the airport contract.
The airport recorded its first commercial flight on Monday, 11 August, 2014, implying that it has been completed or at least, more than 90 percent of it has been achieved.
While I congratulate the governor for the successful completion of the airport project, I however, wish to state that the variations of these two contracts and the question of the N15 billion bond is in bad faith if not a complete scum.
With only a few months to the end of his final term; with the state already among the most indebted in the country; with the state government’s inability to pay workers’ salaries as at when due; and with the projects for which the bond is intended for completed or nearing completion, this N15 billion bond is dubious and therefore uncalled for.
I would also like to emphasize that one of the two projects (the specialist hospital), was wholly financed by the 20 Local Governments in the state and, the other, (the international airport), was jointly financed by the 20 Local Governments and the State Government, where the 20 LGs provided more than 50 percent of the total cost. It is also worthy of note that in the two projects, 70 percent down payment has been made to the contractors at the initial stage of the projects. Why then the almost 100 percent variation in the specialist hospital project (i.e. N2.030 billion), and, the more than 50 percent variation in the international airports project (i.e. N5.848 billion)? The governor must explain to the good people of Bauchi state this sudden shoot up in the cost of projects which have been completed or are at completion stage. Similarly, are these variations approved by the State House of Assembly and captured in a supplementary budget? And with the governor’s folly about due process, do these variations have any semblance of due process?
In conclusion, I would like to call on SEC to take a second look into the issue of this bond because it is palpably dubious, unsound and may not even be meant for any infrastructural development.
Hon. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar
APC Chieftain and Gubernatorial Aspirant, Bauchi State.