Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, gave the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, the green light to obtain N12 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Wike, who had made the request in two trenches, explained that N10billion was for the completion of the recently flagged-off Saakpenwa-Bori and Tam David-West Obiri-Ikwerre Airport Roads, respectively, while the remaining N2 billion was for micro/small and medium scale businesses in the state.
The lawmakers, through a voice vote, made the approval after debating on the two different requests submitted to the House through the Speaker, Rt Hon Adams Dabotoru Dima.
The first letter, captioned, ‘Request for approval to access N10billion Central Bank of Nigeria Infrastructure/Capital Projects Loan’, read in part: “As part of measures to stimulate development in states, the federal government has provided various stimulus packages, including; the CBN Infrastructure/Capital Projects Loan for states to access and utilise some capital projects.
“You know the state government is ambitious to road development programmes. It has become expedient for Rivers State to take advantage of this fund to accelerate the completion of two key roads under construction. These are: (1) the Saakpenwa-Bori Road and (2) the Tam David-West Obiri-Ikwerre Airport Road.
“The construction of these two major roads designated to cost the state government over fourteen billion naira only, will be enhanced with this loan. Consequently, it is my pleasure to request the State House of Assembly to consider and authorise the state government to access the sum of ten billion naira only as Infrastructure/Capital Project Loan from the Central Bank of Nigaria, CBN, to fund the completion of the two major road projects.”
The governor in the second letter captioned “Request for Approval to Access Two billion naira CBN Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Fund, explained that the money meant to support the growth of small businesses in the state has already been accessed.
“As part of measures to support and stimulate the development of small businesses, Rivers State government has accessed two billion naira from the Central Bank of Nigeria Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund for distribution to Rivers State people to support the growth of their small businesses. However, the process of accessing the fund requires a formal resolution from the State House of Assembly conveying approval of this facility.
“Consequently, it is my pleasure to request the State House of Assembly to consider and authorise the state government to access the sum of two billion naira only from the CBN Micro/Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund for the purpose herein indicated”, the letter read in part.
Debating, lawmakers, supported the loan, pointing out that it does not matter how much the state government borrows, provided it is utilised for the purpose with which it was borrowed.
According to House Leader, Hon Martin Chike Amaewhule, considering the country’s economic situation, the N2billion can create jobs for youths in the state. “What we saw in the past few days is a clear testimony that Rivers State under the New Rivers Vision is moving forward. The issue of unemployment can be addressed with this two billion naira. Anything coming from Abuja belongs to all of us and we must collect it to move the state forward”, he said.