Benue Assembly grants state govt. request to obtain N5bn loan
Benue House of Assembly on Wednesday gave approval to the state government to obtain a loan of over N5 billion to settle accumulated counterpart fund contributions.
The request, contained in a letter by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Targema Takema on behalf Gov. Samuel Ortom, was read on the floor of the assembly by the Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange.
In the letter, the government explained that it would use the money to settle its funding contributions for some major programmes.
It stated that the programmes included the Millennium Development Goals, FADAMA III, Water and Sanitation Programmes, Community and Social Development Projects, Control of HIV/AIDS among others.
The speaker told the members that the past administration had not paid the state’s counterpart fund contribution to the programmes since 2014.
Ikyange explained that the loan was necessary, as it would enable the government access funds earmarked under the programmes for critical projects that would greatly benefit people of the state.
According to him, the money coming to the state from the Federation Account is inadequate to finance the programmes due to the huge debt profile left behind by the past administration.
In his contribution, Dr Adoga Onah, member representing Oju I state constituency, advised the government not to borrow too much so that the debt burden would not weigh it down.
Mr Terkaa Ucha, member representing Tiev constituency, opposed the request, saying that the state government should first account for the N10 billion it borrowed in June.
Other members, including Terhemba Chabo, Matthew Ire, Benjamin Nungwa and Johnson Egli, however, supported the motion and called for its speedy approval in view of its importance to people’s welfare.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the matter was unanimously passed by the House after it was put to vote by the speaker, who thereafter directed the Clerk of the assembly to communicate the decision to the executive.