By: Valentine Adese and Frank Agbai
The Plateau State All Progressive Congress (APC) administration led by Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, is now set to collect over N19 Billion loan from the Federal Government of Nigeria, as the State House of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Rt. Hon Peter Azi has given approval.
Although the approval is raped with mixed feelings of members of the House, the need to temporarily solve the financial needs of the state, that of the state Civil Servants’ salaries and the pensioners, readily took the center stage of the consideration and approval.
However, while express their opinions on the floor of the House, some members drew the attention of the House to the fact that the Federal Government already owes the state N15 Billion Naira. “So, the wisdom of collecting N14 Billion extra loan from the same Federal Government was not right.” They stated.
Furthermore, the members had urged the Speaker to set a Committee to look into the details of the loan in order to know what the N14 Billion the administration is trying access would be used for before approval.
According to them, “it will be wrong to tie our state, its people and its future to loans.”
For peace to reign in the plenary, the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, had urged members to approve the loan while the House enforces all its oversight functions in monitoring its utilization.
You would recall that Governor Simon Lalong had sent two communications to the House, seeking for approval of the House to collect the balance of the N5.2 Billion of the earlier approved N10 Billion bailout loan, while the other is seeking for the approval of the House for the administration to access a current N14 Billion loan from the Federal Government to pay Pensioners among other on paid salaries.
You will also recall that among the five states that have meet the conditions of accessing the current loan is Plateau State.