Ayade Gets Lawmakers’ Approval to Borrow N15.5bn

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The Cross River State Government led by Governor Ben Ayade has been granted approval by the State House of Assembly to borrow N15.5 billion from the second round of bail out funds provided by the federal government for financially insolvent states.

The amount is N1.4 billion higher than the N14.1 Billion which the state executive council recommended last week for borrowing from the bail out fund otherwise known as Budget Support Facility (BSF),
After the state executive council meeting last Wednesday, the state commissioner for finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpeyong Jnr, had announced that the council decided that the state should borrow N4.1 Billion from the BSF.

However, while commenting on the approval, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly , Mr. John-Gaul Lebo,
said the approval was sequel to the governor’s letter of request dated June 15, 2016 signed on his behalf by the Secretary to the state Government, Mrs. Tina Agbor, which sought approval for the State to obtain a loan of N15.5Billion from the BSF.

A press statement from the Information Officer of the House, Roseline Irek, on behalf of the Speaker stated that the letter with reference number SSG/GSA/S300/VOL.XVII/736, read in part: “the Federal Ministry of Finance has already consulted with potential lenders, identified and negotiated the best available funding options and that the said sum of N15.5Bn will be released in twelve (12) monthly installments”.

The statement made available on Monday to THISDAY disclosed that the letter also stated that the bail out fund will attract 9 percent interest rate with one year moratorium and a ten- year tenure.

Lebo said the state commissioner for finance, has been directed to prepare an expenditure plan and interim expenditure on the utilisation of the fund and send it to the House of Assembly.

The Speaker said the approval will enable the state government to leverage the present economic challenges and also meet its obligations to its workers, pensioners and other stakeholders.

The Speaker stated that the approval was made at the plenary of the House following a motion moved by the Leader of the House,Mr.Moses Ucheche and seconded by the Deputy Whip, Mr. Okon Ephraim.

In a related development, House also granted approval for the state government to obtain a loan facility of the sum of N3Billion from Fidelity Bank Plc for the construction of infrastructure,provision of social amenities and houses at the proposed new cities.

The approval followed a request to that effect made by the governor in a letter dated June 15th,this year.
According to the letter,the N3 Billion facility would be funded by the Nigerian Mortgage Finance Company Plc.