Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Tuesday denied reports that the state government obtained a $15 million credit facility from a United States (US) financial institution, Export-Import(Ex-IM) Bank.
Fashola denied the claims while inspecting some ongoing projects in Ikorodu area of the state.
The projects include the Mile 12-Ikorodu road expansion, Ipakodo Jetty, housing schemes in Agbowa and projects at the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTEC), among others.
He said Ex-IM merely assisted the state government in purchasing some 32 fire fighting engines from an American company, noting that the bank did not grant the state government any direct credit facility.
He explained that the state government “did not apply for any loan and we did not take any loan. I think the interesting thing about the news report is that while it focused on the $15 million, it very loudly omitted to say what the purpose was for. No state governor can borrow money without the approval of his state executive council not even from a local bank.
“Now I also know as a sub-national government, we cannot take loan from overseas without sovereign approval. That is why we went to the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council when we wanted to raise money.
“What really happened was that we applied for a supply of 32 fire engines from a company in the US and anybody who is familiar with Ex-IM loans would know that it is a strategy by America to promote exports for its own companies to overseas countries.
“Now fire engines are not what you can walk into any company and purchase easily. The American company that would manufacture them needed some capital to put them together and export to us.
“So what Ex-IM Bank did was to provide the capital to the manufacturer guaranteed by a Nigerian bank, whom we will pay to, so we are only buying a product. We did not take any loan,” he said.
Fashola therefore explained all the state’s external and internal loans the state government had obtained, justifying that the loans were duly obtained to fund strategic development projects for the good of all Lagos residents.