Plateau Assembly probes N10bn loan

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Gov Simon-Lalong, plateau stateThe Plateau House of Assembly is investigating the N10 billion loan facility being sought by State Government, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

This is sequel to the invitation of the state’s Accountant-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, to shed more light on the request for the facility.

The report said that the proposal for the collection of the loan was contained in a letter sent to the House by Gov. Simon Lalong.

According to the letter, the proposed loan, if accessed, will be used by the government for developmental projects in the state.

It explained that the loan, which was authorised by the National Economic Council (NEC), would be accessed from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

In his contributions, the member representing Kantana Constituency and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Yusuf Gagdi, urged members to give assent to matters that would spur development.

However, he said the Assembly had only recently approved a loan of N4.5 billion taken by the state government, adding that there was nothing meaningful on ground to show how the loan was utilised.

According to Gagdi, granting approval for the loan will further mortgage the future of the state and its people.

“We as legislators must operate as a people-oriented Assembly; the one that will make good laws that will better the lives of the people.

“Recently, we granted approval for government to collect a loan of N9.8 billion to offset the backlog of salary areas; but we agreed that it was only N4.5 billion that was accessed.

“The Federal Government also released N5.3 billion as bailout funds to the state to offset salary areas.

“This is a state that commissioners and other government functionaries are yet to be appointed and salaries were not paid, where then are these monies taken to?”

In his contribution, the member representing Mangu North East Constituency, Mr. Abdul Yanga, opined that the Assembly was not rejecting the collection of the loan, but that it needs more explanations.

“If we must approve the collection of this loan, government must accompany this proposal with a clear blueprint on the projects it will be used for.

“We are representatives of the people, and so we must make laws that will be in the best interest of the people; anything short of that will be antagonistic.”

In the same vein, the member representing Rukuba/Irigwe Constituency, Mr. Simon Kudu, wondered what the government was doing with its monthly subvention that it had to always fall back to collecting loans.

He called on the Assembly to direct the state accountant-general to appear before the House for a more elaborate explanation about the proposed loan.

After much deliberation from members, the House unanimously agreed that the accountant-general and permanent secretary to appear before its standing committee on Finance for further explanation.

The committee is expected to report back to the House within one week. (NAN)

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