Jos - The Plateau House of Assembly is
investigating the N10 billion loan facility being sought by State Government,
reports the News Agency of Nigeria.
This is sequel to the invitation of the state's Accountant-General and
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, to shed more light on the request for
The report said that the proposal for the collection of the loan was contained
in a letter sent to the House by Gov. Simon Lalong.
According to the letter, the proposed loan, if accessed, will be used by the
government for developmental projects in the state.
It explained that the loan, which was authorised by the National Economic
Council (NEC), would be accessed from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).
In his contributions, the member representing Kantana Constituency and Deputy
Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Yusuf Gagdi, urged members to give assent to
matters that would spur development.
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However, he said the Assembly had only recently approved a loan of N4.5 billion
taken by the state government, adding that there was nothing meaningful on
ground to show how the loan was utilised.
According to Gagdi, granting approval for the loan will further mortgage the
future of the state and its people.
"We as legislators must operate as a people-oriented Assembly; the one that
will make good laws that will better the lives of the people.
"Recently, we granted approval for government to collect a loan of N9.8
billion to offset the backlog of salary areas; but we agreed that it was only
N4.5 billion that was accessed.
"The Federal Government also released N5.3 billion as bailout funds to the
state to offset salary areas.
"This is a state that commissioners and other government functionaries are yet
to be appointed and salaries were not paid, where then are these monies taken
to?,'' he asked.
In his contribution, the member representing Mangu North East Constituency, Mr
Abdul Yanga, opined that the Assembly was not rejecting the collection of the
loan, but that it needs more explanations.
"If we must approve the collection of this loan, government must accompany
this proposal with a clear blueprint on the projects it will be used for.
"We are representatives of the people, and so we must make laws that will be
in the best interest of the people; anything short of that will be
antagonistic,'' he said.
In the same vein, the member representing Rukuba/Irigwe Constituency, Mr Simon
Kudu, wondered what the government was doing with its monthly subvention that
it had to always fall back to collecting loans.
He called on the Assembly to direct the state accountant-general to appear
before the House for a more elaborate explanation about the proposed loan.
After much deliberation from members, the House unanimously agreed that the
accountant-general and permanent secretary to appear before its standing
committee on Finance for further explanation.
The committee is expected to report back to the House within one week.