Governor Fintiri and the Burden of Debt
Governments throughout the world borrow funds to stimulate the economy and to secure the future of its people. When revenues fall short of spending, governments must borrow. Borrowing by a government is not a crime; if there are well-spelled priorities and prudent management of funds including efficient debt management strategies.
On the other hand, if borrowed funds are not directed to productive parts of the economy; forget it- it will constitute an impediment to long-term growth of the economy, open the windows of mismanagement and create citizen mistrust of the government.
Some experts say, not-well-managed commercial debt service and repayments at all times lead to growth retardation. The Fintiri government has so far borrowed billions of naira in just two years- 9.9 billion for the 2000 housing units, 17 billion for critical projects and 4 billion for the Adamawa state university and the recently approved 100 billion naira bond for agribusiness. Many people are of the view that ‘agribuisness is a generic statement. Though, to their credit, the Fintiri government was able to restructure many loans collected by the previous government- especially the Bindow administration
As of March 31, 2021 Adamawa state domestic debts stood at N95,223,661,061.51 Massive borrowings without proper forecasting and strategy for investment always lead to heavy debt burden and, also create adverse effects for the economy and on the poor people. The big question- is the Fintiri government borrowing without prioritizing? Did the government put in place plans for the efficient utilization of the borrowed funds? Or it is just the same old Nigerian story?- borrowing for consumption
On August 21, 2021, the Daily Trust published a story on the structural decay at foremost General Murtala Mohammed College Yola, but few meters away from the school, the Fintiri government is constructing a multi-billion naira flyover and inter-change- misplacement of priority?. There is news going around that the Fintiri government is in the process of renovating and furnishing the Adamawa government lodge in Maitama, Abuja at the cost of 250 Million of which 100 million has already been released. Another misplaced priority? The Boni Haruna administration bought the building at the cost of 100 million.
On August 18, 2021 the Adamawa state executive council approved the sum of 56 Million Naira for consultants to monitor the completion of the 40km Pella-Maiha Road which was awarded in 2007 by the Gov. Murtala Nyako administration the project which was worth the sum of 3 billion but now 9 billion (the adjustment happened between period the Nyako-Bindow governments) though, there is nothing wrong in hiring good consultancy firm in order to get excellent results. However, prioritizing of needs of the people is very important for a government like that of Adamawa state with meager resources and very poor people. Critics of the Fintiri government always point that- a very important problem with the Fintiri administration is- they are unmindful of capital flight from Adamawa. Most of its contracts are handled by non-indigenes of Adamawa. For example, the consultancy for the monitoring of the completion of the Pella-Maiha Road should have been handled by locals- imagine forming a committee with people Sajo Gella, SYB Yunusa and many more people from that area to handle the monitoring- Fintiri will get the desired results as well score a point on policies and politics at the same time.
The Fintiri government is facing three critical issues – firstly misplacement of priority- some of its projects are misplaced ones. Secondly- the government is facing the issue of public mistrust- however good its intentions in borrow; many citizens don’t trust the government. Thirdly- The Fintiri government is also having the issue of poor distribution of wealth. However, to be fair to Fintiri, it is not easy governing Adamawa state, but accepting some good advice can help.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08036070980