Ondo PDP tackles Akeredolu over N50b bond

The Ondo State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, raised the alarm over the N50b loan bond approved by the State House of Assembly, describing it as an attempt by the present administration in the state to mortgage the state through the loan.

The party stated this in a statement issued and signed by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Zadok Akintoye, lamented the manner in which the state House of Assembly passed the bill for the loan, saying the development showed the naivety of the lawmakers.

However, the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo, maintained that the N50b loan bond approved by the lawmakers in the state is to be used for developmental projects initiated by the administration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

Ojogo who emphasised the need to develop infrastructural facilities in the state said the bond loan became necessary in order to pay contractors handling various capital projects in the state, especially contractors handling road projects.

He assured that the money from the capital market would not come to the purse of the state government but it would be spent directly on government’s projects.

“Disregard opposition, the opposition will always talk, it is part of their job to talk. We all know that the money would not be paid into the government’s purse but it will be used to fund all these ongoing and new capital projects directly.”

But the PDP said that there was no justification for the loan at this period when the present domestic and external debt had become a burden on the state.

The party stated in the statement that “the recent approval by the Ondo State House of Assembly for the Rotimi Akeredolu-led Ondo State Government to access a loan of 50 billion naira calls for deep concern.

“While we are well aware that states may access loans from the capital market to finance projects that may not be covered by available resources, our concern is that our dear Ondo State is doing so at a time when its financial inflows from Federal Allocation, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and other earnings from past investments of the state, are at a fairly steady level.

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“Considering our present domestic debt profile of about N52 billion (as at 2018) and an external debt profile of about $50m, it is worrisome to see that the Akeredolu-led government is resorting to further borrowing rather than reducing the debt per revenue burden on the state.

“We also note the quick passage of the bill by the State House of Assembly authorising the governor to access this loan and would like to draw the attention of these honourable members vested with the mandate of the people to act, speak and defend the interest of our people, to the failure of the Executive arm of government to publicly present a detailed and audited account of funds received and spent on the behalf of the people since this government came into being.”

The statement said further, “please note, that at a time when taxes payable by citizens have almost doubled and recurrent expenditure reduced, one would have expected any responsible government to work at maintaining our current debt exposure rather than increasing it.

“We implore citizens of Ondo State to keep asking questions from this government particularly with respect to how state funds are being expended. Allegations of monthly withdrawals of almost a billion naira as security vote and personal imprest by the Governor has remained unanswered by this government.

“It is our hope that citizens take record and ensure that our future is saved by rejecting this debt accumulation at the polls.”

Ojogo, however, said that Akeredolu would rather spend such huge bond on legacy projects that would impact positively on the lives of the citizenry instead of using same for any re-election bid.

He said, “the bond as we all know is a N50 billion bond that was approved by the House of Assembly on Thursday. That bond is meant to enhance not just to sustain the development that has been achieved but to further engender and sustain development in the state.

“From that bond N50 billion, 50 kobo or 50 cents of that money is not coming into government purse. It is between the capital market and the banks where the fund will be domiciled.

Ojogo assured the people of the state that contractors would soon return to sites of road projects that were currently experiencing delays, adding that “with the approval of the bond, ongoing projects would be completed in record time.”

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