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Paucity of funds affected my performance aGov Bello.

KOGI State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on Monday admitted that paucity of funds in 2017 affected his infrastructural development plans for the state.

He however said concerted efforts were being made to increase the revenue base of the state through massive agricultural revolution.

The governor, who spoke in a statewide broadcast to the people of the state to mark the new year, said despite the harsh economic situation across the globe, his administration was able to start new developmental projects, while the ongoing ones were not abandoned.

Bello said he was committed to the human and infrastructural of the 21 local government areas of the state.

He said, 'In spite of the generally harsh financial circumstances in the nation, we were able to commence new projects, continue old ones and even complete a good number of others across the three senatorial districts of the state.

'The biggest challenge facing this administration still remains the paucity of funds to finance our development programmes. It is clear that no magic solution exists for the shortfalls in liquidity which has hit governments all over the world, Nigeria included. The only viable option before us is to increase our creativity in maximising existing sources of funds while developing new ones.'

The governor however expressed optimism that the alternative sources of income being sourced by his government would address the challenge of paucity of funds facing government.

Bello said, 'l am therefore pleased with the progress we have made in agriculture as an alternative source of income and employment. Our first harvest from the experimental farm at Omi Dam was hugely satisfying, considering that it is an initial effort. The first batch of Confluence Rice hit the market in December, 2017. This is a source of income we hope to nurture from domestic sales, and if there is a surplus, distribution to other parts of the country and even overseas export.

'Our rice renaissance is traceable to the Agricultural Revolution Programme (ARP) which we launched with fanfare early in 2017 and have been working on since. Similarly, cashew, cassava, sugarcane and benniseed are some other crops we have big plans for.

'We have made advanced progress with possible investors to cultivate these on an industrial scale in 2018. By the end of year, we should be able to attribute at least 15% of our income to earnings from the agricultural sector.'

On the civil service reform of his administration, Bello said the workers that scaled through the process were being paid upon the successful completion of the screening exercise.

The governor added, 'I would like to reiterate that our staff screening and verification exercise has since ended. Cleared civil servants have been earning their rightful salaries for months now, albeit with some hiccups now and then due to evident reasons. In December, we made attempts to clear all backlogs within the limits of the available funds, while doing our best to avoid fresh arrears from building up.

'This information on payment of salaries in relation to the screening exercise is important to dispel the persistent use of alleged non-payment by dishonest and discredited politicians to gain political capital under guise of fighting for Kogi State Civil Servants.

'It is also important to sound a warning to those Civil Servants who defame government with claims of long months of unpaid salaries in order to solicit money from gullible people, or evade their own contractual or domestic obligations.'
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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