Niger State government to establish a “Debt Management Bureau” and Niger State Procurement Board.
The Niger State commissioner of finance on Wednesday informed press men that the state is the process of establishing a Debt Management Bureau as well as grant full autonomy to the state procurement board.
The state’s debt sustainability ratio is in the lower 20 per cent threshold,which happens to be one of the lowest in the country. According to the Domestic Debt Data for the 36 states of the federation and the FCT as at March 31,2020, Niger State is the 6th lowest on the list.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s administration is ensuring the state’s debt profile remains within a manageable/sustainable threshold.
The current debt profile of the state includes bonds entered into by previous administrations,bailout,budget support funds from the Federal Government amongst other things.
In order to properly manage and strengthen the debt Management Processes,the government has decided to set up a Debt Management bureau.
The bureau when established will give clear processes to the debt of the state.
Furthermore,a special account, where certain percentage of the state income will be kept for the management of its debt, will be set up.
This is to ensure transparency while assuring stakeholders that government is determined to honour all its financial obligations at all times.
The commissioner also stated that,full autonomy will be granted to the state Procurement Board to enable it operate without interference from any quarters.
The Commissioner for Finance who was the chairman of the Board,will be replaced by a retired High Court judge or a retired civil servant that must have risen to the position of a Permanent Secretary before leaving service.
When the bill is passed and assented to, the Director General of the Board will be screened and confirmed by the House of Assembly. Other members of the Board will be representatives of the Ministry of Justice, local government, planning and the organised labour.
The procurement board is also establishing an e-procurement portal to facilitate for e-procurement.
This is to ensure transparency,ease of access by the public without physical contact as well as provide an independent and level playing ground in procurement process, the proposed bill is expected to provide legal backing for the e-procurement.
Consequently,two bills are being proposed to the house of Assembly;one on the establishment of the Debt Management Bureau and the other for Niger State Procurement Board.
All this effort by Niger Government is to block all leakages, ensure transparency and promote accountability.