Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has described as “absolutely false and misleading” reports that N70 billion had been paid to or received by his government, raising alarm that Delta State Government has not received any money as bailout or gratis from the federal government.
In a press statement by the governor’s chief press secretary, Mr. Ehiedu Aniagwu, the governor also clarified that the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), which he said was dear to his heart, has not been dissolved.
“We want to make it clear that no N70 billion under any guise, whether allocation, bailout or gratis, was released to the state”, he said.
He explained that what happened was that the state government desirous of getting around its huge debt burden and approached the Debt Management Office, DMO, to negotiate a restructuring of its debt particularly debt owed to commercial banks with strangulating interest “That restructuring or conversion of this category of debts (to bonds) was successfully secured through the DMO earlier this month to give his government a financial breathing space“, the governor explained.
Okowa added, “You would recall that when the governor briefed the House of Assembly, he made it clear that the debt burden of the state is huge and beyond the contractual obligations, the commercial debts to banks and the repayment conditionality were quite strangulating.
“As a pro-active administration, the government sought ways to alleviate the burdens so as to deliver on its promise of prosperity to all Deltans.
“One of the ingenious ways the government considered was to explore the option of the federal government bond. What this meant was that he state liaised with the Debt Management Office to take over the commercial loans and restructure them to federal government bonds giving the state a long repayment period without increasing the debt burden of the state.
“Certain conditions were attached to the bonds for the state government to meet, the state government has met the conditions and the federal government is considering the application“, he emphasized.
He stressed that the debt restructuring was “a proactive step to enable this administration deliver on its promise of prosperity for all Deltans.”
On DESOPADEC, the governor debunked the dissolution story, noting that only the board of the Commission, which has already outlived its tenure, was dissolved by the government.
“We want to make it clear that the Commission is intact and never
dissolved,” Okowa pointed out, adding, “what was dissolved is the
Board (of DESOPADEC) whose tenure has elapsed long before now.”

READ ALSO  Card reader hitches: Nigerians should hold Jega responsible – PDPPCO