May 18, 2021

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Concerns As Ayade Gets Assembly’s Nod To Take Another Loan

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The Cross River State House of Assembly has 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) following a request from the governor, Prof Ben Ayade, to that effect.
The money, according to the governor, is to enable government meet its financial obligations with respect to a 50 per cent 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 would be sourced from Zenith Bank PLC. The facility is offered at a 15 per cent interest rate.
Members however had divergent views on the issue. While some applauded it, others felt the state was already in debt and should not go for more.
In a related development, the House through a resolution approved the sum of three billion naira facility to finance commercial agriculture credit scheme in the state.
Ayade, while assuring Cross Riverians on the judicious utilization of the loan, said the facility was 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 within 42 months, at an interest rate of seven per cent.
Speaking on the governor’s request, the 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 held the view that more information be availed the House to enable it understand clearly, the position of government regarding agriculture in the state, wondering if government’s involvement in agriculture was in production, processing or packaging.
After due consultation with members, the speaker, Eteng Jonah Williams referred the loan request to the joint committee on agriculture and finance, with a directive that they should report back to the House in one week.

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