Kano Light Rail: Chinese Loan and the Road to State Insolvency

Ibrahim Nazeer Kallah

AREWA AGENDA – Every generation gives birth to a man who answers the name “Leader”. Leadership does not just emerge from speeches but collective acceptance from responsible citizens of that generation.

As a leader, no matter the amount of gold, readies and sterling, never let trust perish. You can abondon your body, but you must not abondon your honour and integrity. Listen to your subjects before any judgment for you will be held responsible for any defect and mismanagement that may affect the wealth and treasures of the people you lead.

The implication of acting otherwise is that generation after generation will remember you with agony, regrets and distress. History will never be kind to you when students/childrens are kept in class and the story of your mismanagements, and embezzlement are being thought to them.

Today, as Kano state government heads toward introducing its younger generation into the greatest night hag for the first time in history over a loan admission from the China Development Bank to finance a light rail project in the State worth six hundred and eighty four million, one hundred thousand, hundred Euros (684,100,100.00) which is approximately tantamount to N300bn at the CBN exchange rate, one wonders how a a government with known history of loan defaultment, zero investment in HealthCare and Education, prioritises it’s policies.

As the Economist’s says, “too much loan accessing can leads to bankruptcy and insolvency”. Insolvency has a law as well as bankruptcy and “insolvency is the states or situation where a debtor is unable to pay his/her/its debt” which is of two kinds cash flow and balance sheet. The idea here is, who is the debtor and how many years of agreement?

With references to those data here are some frightening and puzzling figures that goes: the approved N15bn loan earlier in January from GT bank by the Kano State House of Assembly, the approved N50bn for the said projects completion dated March 24, by same Assembly which the loan repayment duration would be 10 years.

Now, the questions we should be asking ourselves are; have those State House of Representatives members who called themselves messiahs of change turned to puppets? What is the faith of our health sector, the educational sector and forestry? If 15bn repayment duration will be 10 years then what’s that of N300bn? Have the government lost its intellectual minds, where and who are the advisory committee?

Concomitantly, how far about the public hearings? What is our attitude towards street beggars and girl child education? the childrens out of Schools? What is our GDP to debt ratio before going for the request? Where are our economic masterminds? When and who will repay the loan? I think these are the questions we all should be asking.

Moreover, loan accessing in Kano does not just starts with this Administration, it has been on for 10-15 year, this government is not the first nor the last, but the degree at which its heading through ceaseless loan requests is a source of rated concern.

At this point in time, anybody expecting an instant miracle from the said light rail project from the onset of the loan is an uncommon nitwit and an incorrigible fool, as we have the culture of negligence, and uncomplication of our predecessor’s projects. Sadly, nothing can be achieved within the three years remaining of this administration. If not for Governors like Audu Bako, Abubakar Rimi, and Heads of States like General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and their structural adjustments program, Kano could have gone to the dogs and these achievements are not product of loans.

On a serious note, the comparative deduction by UNESCO 2012-2019 is a clear indication that the foresaid loan is also a misplacement of priorities based on Literacy levels. The Literacy level of Imo state is 96.43%, Lagos, its 96.30%, for Osun its 91%, Rivers is also 96%, for kano its 38%.

Ideally, if the priority of Imo or Lagos State governors is to inject money massively for a white elephant or mega project (55%) be it flyovers, Underpasses, flashy roads, or like the Ganduje’s said light rails, then Kano State’s priority is to invest in education and Healthcare.

Nevertheless, the sane truth and the single silver bullet that is going to save the good people of Kano from this anathema and express mode of insolvency is that we should all come back to reality by adequately advising the State government not to go for the loan. If they defy, then all Kano Statemens, notable intellectuals should round the table and sign a petition, present it to the Chinese Development Bank on never to repay back the loan, that is the application of the third law of insolvency which is Economically acceptable.

More so, if we must go for the loan, I advice the Kano State Government to rather invest such fund in Healthcare and Educating our girls, childrens and let’s see the results in the next 6-8 years.

Following the aforementioned trajectory will make history remember this administration kindly as education and healthcare delivery are the major drivers through which people will always remember hiistory and victory.

Finally, we will be rescueing the State from undesirable insolvency as the Economy of the State will prosper when Education reigns supreme.

Comr. Ibrahim Nazeer Kallah, A concern citizen writes from Kano. He can be reached via [email protected]

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives.

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