Rivers Assembly Authorises Amaechi to Access N50bn Bond
IMAGE: Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Rivers State Governor »
The Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday authorised Governor Chibuike Amaechi to access N50 billion out of the N100 billion it approved last January.
Amaechi also got the approval of the assembly to borrow N2 billion from the Central Bank Nigeria's (CBN's) micro, small, and medium enterprises development fund to boost MSMEs in the state.
The assembly's authorisation came as members considered two letters dated August 13, 2014 from Amaechi seeking permission to access the funds.
One of the letters read by the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan-Amachree, read in part: “May I kindly refer to the House resolution dated 29th January 2014, which conveyed and authorised the issuance of the N100 billion bond by the state government to fund various infrastructure projects.
“Following which the state request for the bond issuance has been with the Federal Ministry of Finance for the “No Objection” approval in respect of ISPO monthly deduction from the state’s federal allocation account.”
The lawmaker said the finance minister, reviewed the request, “suggested re-assessment of the N100 billion tranche 1 not based on terminal deficiencies or economic outlook and availability of the state but on the basis of the tenor of government and trust on the future debt sustainability in the face of dwindling revenue from federation account.”
He said the proposed N50 billion issuance programme, as a viable alternative means of long-term finance, would be earmarked for projects such as the M10 high way that will connect the new Greater Port Harcourt area to Onne seaport; Port Harcourt Monorail Phase 1B & C; New RSUST Campus project; Trans Amadi/Woji/Elelenwo dual way.”
In the second letter, the governor said the N2 billion MSMEs development fund loan would help finance small scale businesses and cottage industries at a nominal single digit interest rate of five per cent for five years.
He said “by availing our budding entrepreneurs such soft loan through the state government will achieve the objectives of economic activities of both within Port Harcourt and rural areas.”
The gocernor had urged the assembly to expedite action with regards to the requests.
During debates on the requests, Hon. Augustine Ngo, representing Abua/Odual constituency, prayed that the money earmarked for the new RSUST campus should rather be directed to equip the model secondary schools that were built by the administration.
He further requested that the agency that would handle the N2 billion for the SMEs should be invited to the assembly for briefing on how the money would be disbursed, pointing out that the impact of funds released to the Rivers State Micro Finance Agency (RIMA) was yet to be felt by the people.
In his comment, Dan-Amachree stated that the expenditure and loans were already captured in the budget, adding that it would be necessary for the assembly to pass the resolution since the 2014 fiscal years was already coming to an end.
When the matter was put to vote, all 19 members present at the sitting unanimously voted for approval of the two requests.
Article Credit: Thisdaylive