Why Akwa Ibom Needs N10 Billion Loan, By Finance Commissioner

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State
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From Mfon Ekefre, Uyo
Negative reactions from various quarters have greeted the application by the executive arm of Akwa Ibom State government seeking a N10 billion loan approved by the state’s House of Assembly.
In view of the foregoing, the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akan Okon, has advanced reasons for the N10 billion loan.
The commissioner said contrary to misrepresentation on the issue in some quarters, the loan platform was the initiative of the National Economic Council (NEC) led by the Vice President, Yem Osibanjo, which said that proceeds from the Excess Account which were usually shared among the states should now serve as a collateral under which states would access a maximum of N10 billion to finance their capital projects in view of the dwindling oil revenue reserve.
Okon said it was in line with this decision by NEC, which had also directed the Central Bank to create a pool of loanable funds for interested states to access that Akwa Ibom sought and got the approval of both the executive and legislative arms to access the loan being the highest contributor to the account.
The commissioner pointed out that it was not out of place for government to finance long-term projects that would have multiplier effect on the people of the state which is the practice even in developed countries of the world, adding that the ECA loan was specifically for development projects.
Okon said the state government had to take advantage of the window provided by the Federal Government which was cheaper and more convenient than commercial bank’s loan that usually attract high interest rate and short-term payment period, and called for the understanding of all.
Also, state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, condemned the misrepresentation of the ECA loan by the media. He advised journalists to be guided by the ethics of the profession by always publishing facts as well as seeking clarification from the right sources before news were published so as not to misinform the public, thereby heating the polity.

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