The approval authorises the governor to push for the refinancing of part of the State Government banks loans through the capital market with the issuance of bonds not exceeding 40 Billion Naira.It also seeks approval for the engagement of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Ltd. to serve as lead issuing house and financial adviser to carry out documentation, obtain regulatory approvals and sale/understanding of the bond issue.
Speaker of the House, Larry Odey said the request made by the state governor was not an attempt to borrow more funds but rather to off-load the state’s indebtedness to the banks for purchase and reduced interest rates; provide soft landing for enhanced on-going projects and also cushion the take off of the next administration. Odey reminded members of the need to support other arms of government, especially, the executive and in turn fulfill their responsibility to their various constituencies. He therefore, called on them to consider the request in the interest of Cross River state.
In the same vein, Deputy Speaker of the House and member, representing Akampka I State Constituency, Itaya Asuquo Nyong said the governor’s move for re-financing the State Government’s loan was bold, expedient and an innovative way to move Cross River State forward in the area of project development and enhanced smooth transition.
Four other members, Alex Irek, Uduak Eyo, Patrick Uguge and Agbiji Agbiji, supported the governor’s request maintaining that the re-financing bid should not be seen as an excuse for pleasure but rather a help for the in-coming administration to take off smoothly and at the same time reduce the recent pressure experienced in the late payment of salaries to civil servants in the State.
Independent observers are however worried that the timing maybe suspect as Imoke has less than eight months left to vacate office. They are even worried that it has taken him this long to realise that the state is in dire financial straits. What is again of note, one observer says is “the speed with which the House of Assembly is nodding. Nobody there is asking serious question, they are just all talking in the governor’s favour even if they do not understand what is in the bill or what passing it portends for CRS”. Our source refused to say further preferring instead “to wait until the process has commenced and we can then, based on our assessment of the process, offer our submissions”.
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