The Plateau State House of Assembly has approved a request forwarded to it by the Governor, Rt Hon Simon Lalong, for a loan facility of N10 billion.
The Street Journal recalls that Governor Lalong had requested the lawmakers’ approval for the loan to enable the government to execute new and complete on-going projects in the state.
The lawmakers’ approval followed the presentation at its Tuesday’s plenary of the report of a Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by Mr Amos Kumtul, representing Langatng North-Central.
The Committee report, which contained details of projects to be executed with the loan when accessed, also indicated that the loan would be tied to Excess Crude Account (ECA), with an interest rate of nine per cent.
The report also explained that its findings showed that Plateau State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) had been mortgaged by the Jang administration, through an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO, thereby, making it mandatory for all internally generated revenues to be used to service a bank loan incurred by Jang.
“From our findings, it was clear that the loan, if accessed, will be used to complete the on-going projects in the state.
“It was resolved by various state governors that each state is allowed to access the loan from the said account so as to aid in the implementation of projects and programmes.
“So, it is a window of opportunity for our state to access this loan in order to complete the on-going projects,” Kumtul said.
The Committee Chairman further explained that the N4.5 billion loan which the lawmakers earlier approved for the executive was used to pay the backlog of salaries and pension arrears.
Also, he said, the N5.3 billion bailout fund received recently by the state government, was used to pay May, June and July arrears of salaries, due to eight months backlog the government inherited from the Jang administration.
Kumtul also explained that the state government received statutory allocations totaling N10.4 billion from June 2015 to September, 2015, but was used to offset February, March and April salaries, and cater for overhead costs.
It would be recalled that, prior to the approval, the lawmakers had on October 13 summoned the state Accountant-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, to appear before the Committee within one week to clarify some issues bordering on the loan proposal.
This was, however, reported wrongly by a section of the media, who reported that the state House of Assembly had rejected the governor’s loan request,thereby, stirring a furry of debates across the state.