Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), one of the registered political parties, has expressed concern over the debt profile of Edo State, saying the $232 million owed by the state was not a true reflection of the level of infrastructure development on the ground.
The latest debts of states as released by the Debt Management Office (DMO), placed Edo as the third highest in the federation, behind that of Lagos and Kaduna States respectively.
Against this backdrop, Roy Oribhabor, state Chairman of Green Party of Nigeria in an chat with journalists in Benin City yesterday, stated that the state’s debt profile has become worrisome and of concern, especially against the background that there was nothing on ground to show in terms of level of development.
According to him, “As a party and stakeholder, we are seriously bothered about the debt profile of Edo State.
“According to the DMO latest statistics, the state is ranked as the third highest debtor among subnational government in Nigeria. With the report, Edo State owes $232.2, coming behind Lagos and Kaduna States.
“GPN call on the state government for full disclosure of transactions and also to explain in details, the situation that warrant the high level of indebtedness.”
Oribhabor further said: “The debts profile is not a true reflection of what is on ground today considering the squalor disposition.
“Our sincere concern and worries is because if this money is converted to naira, it become more worrisome and disheartening therefore, time to act is now.
“Edo GPN calls on the government to as matter of urgency, formulate repay mechanism because as a party, we will not fold our hands to allow the lives of unborn generation to be mortgaged for selfish reasons.”
Reacting however, Edo State Government said monies the state borrowed, especially under the regime of All Progressives Congress (APC), were efficiently utilised for the intended purposes.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said it was for this reason that international donor agencies and the World Bank are still patronising the state.
He also said the loans obtained by the APC government were at a very low interest rate of between 1 to 1. 5 per cent.
“In any case, the total indebtedness of the state is an accumulation of what was obtained during the reign of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo.
“While the APC government have efficiently utilised the loan obtained for the development of the state, as can be seen by all, the PDP diverted theirs to private pockets.
“We are all witness to the water project loan they obtained from the World Bank but diverted into private pockets.
“The fact that World Bank and other donor agencies still listen to us, as a state, whenever we call on them, goes to say that we have always used the money for what it was meant,” Osagie said.