Ogun N140n Debt : Figure From DMO Doesn't Capture All - Hazzan - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Ogun N140n Debt : Figure From DMO Doesn't Capture All - Hazzan

•Hon. Remmy Hazzan

Heritage Odih, Abeokuta

The Special Adviser to the Ogun State Government  on Public Communication, Hon. Remmy Hazzan, has said that it has not yet been established the exact quantum of debt bequeathed to Governor Dapo Abiodun - led administration in the state by his predecessor(s).

Hazzan, a former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, said even the figures emanating from the Debt Management Office (DMO) regarding the Ogun debt profile, do not not tell the whole story 

The Daily Crucible reports in its February 19, 2020 Edition that the domestic debt profile of Ogun State had hit all time high of one hundred and forty billion, nine hundred and ninety three million, four hundred and twenty - six thousand, eight  hundred and seventy - five naira and two kobo(N140,993,426,875,02) as at September 2019, according to a snippet of information from the Debt Management Office.

But speaking in Abeokuta, the State capital, recently on the debt status of Ogun  among other issues while fielding questions at the "DIALOGUE," a programme of the Correspondents' Chapel of the Ogun State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Hazzan  said that DMO only gives  figures based on what it could "harvest from financial institutions," about a given state, stressing that such doesn't capture everything. 

He, recalled that the state government did set up various Committees to look into some aspects  of the decisions taken by the previous administration, including contracts awarded by it,  assuring that at the right time, the true position of things would be made clear.

The Special Assistant on Public Communication, however, disclosed that plans were underway to reach an agreement with
 Dangote Company under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for the reconstruction of some Federal roads in Ogun State should the federal government consent to releases such deplorable federal roads to the state government.

Hazzan cited the Papalanto/Sagamu Interchange expressways and the ever busy Abeokuta/Ibadan highway terminating at Odeda town among others as the ones the Prince Abiodun led administration was already working towards securing federal government's approval for proper rehabilitation and maintenance through the PPP arrangement.

He said engaging Dangote's company becomes exigent in view of the fact that the company had demonstrated its competence in reconstructing roads by using concrete materials as done in Obajana - Kaba in Kogi state.

He  explained that fixing the federal roads in Ogun corridors under the PPP arrangement remains the only panacea bearing in mind that cost of fixing them is gargantuan, hence the federal government had been dilly dallying at reconstructing them over the years. 

He also disclosed that Abiodun's infrastructural development plans for the state included roads, education, rail and water among others,  emphasizing that those roads may be tolled by the private investors and eventually transfer them to the state after recouping their capital invested at reconstructing them.

Hazzan said:"We came up with an idea that will boost our infrastructural plan and majority of the roads that are critical to us are federally owned. We are engaging the Private Investors because we don't have the resources to put these roads in places and our people don't care how you do it: whether you borrow or enter into partnership with private investors, they're careless. They just want to pass on roads that are motorable.

"Now, we're able to get private investors who are willing to put their money on these roads, but they want to toll them. However, they can't toll those roads if they still remain property of the federal government. What we're doing as a state, is talking to the federal government to release those roads to us.

"We have created the Public Private Partnership office: we have established the Public Private Partnership laws which will ensure that private investors putting their money into these road projects recoup their capital. We just want the federal government to release those roads to us.

"But while that negotiations is ongoing, we have started works on the ones which we have control over. For example, the Ijebu - Ode/Epe highway: this is one of the roads that will decongest the Lagos - Ibadan expressway because whoever that that is travelling to Lagos Island either from the Northern or Eastern parts of the country do not need to connect the Lagos - Ibadan expressway any longer. But the investors would have to toll the road to enable them recoup their capital."

He, however, justified tolling the roads by saying that federal government, whose policy objected to collecting tolls, has also been collecting tolls at the nation's airports across the country.

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