By Africa Today
The Cross River State House of Assembly on Tuesday granted a consequential approval of one billion five hundred and nineteen million eight hundred and eighty four thousand seventy eight naira and eighty six kobo (N1, 519,884,078. 86k) brought before it by Governor Ben Ayade.
The money, according to the state Governor is to enable government to meet its financial obligations with respect to 50% Universal Basic Education (UBE) counterpart contribution for 2019 projects in the state.
Ayade while maintaining that the borrowing becomes necessary in view of the paucity of funds and dwindling allocation from the Federal Government, also noted that the money will be sourced from Zenith Bank PLC.
The financial obligation if sourced would provide temporary funding to government to meet the temporary obligation.
However, the facility is offered on a 36 monthly tenor at 15% interest rate.
Some Members in separate contributions maintained that it’s a welcome development noting that it is statutory for States or Federal Government to respect their end of the bargain by paying their counterpart fund before receiving any intervention from agencies.
Meanwhile, some members expressed concern over the entire process in view of the debt profile of the state.
In a related development, the House through a Resolution approved the sum of three billion naira (3,000,000,000.00) being loan facility to finance Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme in the State.
The State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade while assuring Cross Riverians on the judicious utilization of the loan, said the fund is in line with the state’s policy on Agro-Industrialisation and the need to finance the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying the commercial Agriculture Credit scheme with repayable tenor of 42 months at an interest rate of 7 percent.
Speaking on the Governor’s request, Member representing Boki 11 State Constituency, Mr. Hillary Bisong while raising concerns over the loan, said government should be more explicit in its planned agricultural programmes.
other Members who also spoke on the loan facility opined that more information be availed the House to enable it understand more clearly the position of government regarding agriculture in the state, wondering if government’s involvement in agriculture is in production, processing or packaging.
After due consultation with Members, the House Speaker, Eteng Jonah Williams refers the loan request to a Joint Committee on Agriculture and Finance to report back to the House in one week.