​Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK): So far, How far?By Bolaji Idowu

In the face of current national economic downturn, resulting in dwindling allocations to all tiers of government in the country, the need for every government to devise alternative and reliable means of meeting its obligations (both capital and recurrent expenditure) has become exceedingly imperative.


I was, therefore, excited when the Kwara State Government in September last year established the Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK). The scheme, according to the government, is to serve as a sustainable funding window for the implementation of major infrastructural projects.


Why was I excited? I was excited because I felt that the scheme – if well implemented – would go a long way in assisting the government bridge the infrastructure deficit of the State. Moreover, I saw the introduction of IFK as a reflection of a government that was ready to overlook the barriers created by economic recession and bring infrastructures to the doorsteps of its people.


Few months on, everyone will agree with me that the establishment of the Development Fund has proven to be ‘a right step in the right direction’ as it has obviously started yielding positive results, which we can all see.  Indeed, nobody argues with results. Through IFK, the State government has been able to fund ongoing projects and initiate new ones across the State.


The ongoing construction of Geri-Alimi Diamond underpass is one of the projects being funded under IFK. Among the newly initiated projects to be funded through IFK are KWASU campus in Ilesha-Baruba and Ekiti, KWASU Post-Graduate School in Ilorin and dualisation of Kulende-UITH-Oke Ose road project.  


According to the State government, other projects to be implemented under IFK are dualisation of Michael Imodu-Ganmo road, Light-Up Kwara Project (LUK) renovation of Indoor sport hall of the Ilorin Stadium, among others.


As reported in the media, the State government recently mobilized contractors in charge of the construction of the Kwara State University (KWASU) Ekiti Campus and the dualisation of Kulende-UITH-Oke Ose with the sum of N500m each, making a total of N1b. In March, the government released N900m to about 36 contractors handling various projects across the State.


Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed was definitely not wrong when he recently said that IFK has strengthened the capacity of the state government to meet its obligations despite the current economic challenges.


It is pleasing to note that since IFK was launched last year, the State government has released more than N7b to fund ongoing and new projects across the State, which will have a multiplier effect on the economy of the State. Also, more people have been and will be productively engaged on various construction sites, thereby reducing the problems of youth unemployment in the State.
With the visible impacts of IFK within the short period of its establishment, it can safely be said that the introduction of the scheme is worthwhile and commendable. One can only wish that it had been established long before now.  
For now, IF-K is the strongest evidence of good thinking and optimal utilization public funds in Kwara State.