Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Sunday asserted that his immediate predecessor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, did not leave eight billion naira in the state’s treasury.
Nuhu Audu, who served as deputy governor during Mr. Yero’s administration, had claimed that the former governor left behind N8 billion in the state treasury when he handed over on May 29, 2015.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, the state capital, Samuel Aruwan, Governor El-Rufai’s special assistant on media and publicity, said the last administration left the state in a financial deficit.
“I am here to dismiss claims by the former deputy governor of our state, Mr. Nuhu Audu Bajoga, that the last government left over N8 billion as working money in the accounts of [the] Kaduna State Government,” said Mr. Aruwan. He added: “The Mukhtar Ramalan Yero's government actually left the state in deficit and I will explain as follows.
“The Kaduna State Government had N228,333,371.67 in its central account on 29 May 2015. This represents the working capital that could be spent. All other items in the bank balance are committed funds, and are not available to be spent by government. These include counterpart and reserve funds clearly earmarked for specific purposes such as MDGs, SUBEB, Sure-P and state pensions, and as such cannot be termed available funds by any responsible government.
“It is pretty disingenuous to infer that a state that is in obvious dire straits has robust finances or to delude to a conclusion that N8 billion on paper is available in reality. Furthermore, the Mukhtar Ramalan Yero government that Bajoga served also incurred outstanding liabilities of N370 million by May 2015, that effectively leaves the state in deficit as the working capital of slightly over N228 million cannot cover the liability.”
Mr. Aruwan stated that, because the state “is broke, it has decided to cut costs and focus the state’s resources on priority areas. That is why it has restructured ministries and cut the number of political appointees.”
Mr. El-Rufai’s spokesman said “merchants of division who thrive in reading sectional motives to policy decisions will not deter this government from committing funds to building schools, hospitals and roads and providing security around state.”