From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
The recent announcement by Imo State Government that it has borrowed N8.9bn loan from Fidelity Bank to offset contingencies have drawn the wraths of People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the state as they vehemently opposed the loan and warned the government against mortgaging the future of the state with loans.
The political party disclosed this in a statement signed by Hon.Ogubundu Nwadike, the party’s State Publicity Secretary and made available to The Authority in Owerri on Sunday.
According to the opposition political party “having studied the reasons and excuses recently proffered by the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Declan Emelumba for the Uzodimma regime borrowing a N8.9 billion loan from Fidelity Bank Plc, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State has faulted them and warned against future occurrence.
According to a statement signed by Hon. Oguwike Nwachukwu, the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor, the Commissioner explained that the N8.9 billion was not a loan but money that accrued to the State as its share from the “Excess Crude Account” from the Federal Government. This Party contradicts that assertion as being far from the whole truth.
The statement specifically reported as follows: “In another development, the Council has cleared the air on the orchestrated N8.9 billion Fidelity Bank “Loan” approved by the Imo State House of Assembly, describing the insinuation as unfounded.
“The Commissioner for Information and Strategy clarified that the money in question is not a loan, but Imo State Government’s share from the Excess Crude Account from the Federal Government.
“He said that what Imo State Government did was simply to use her entitlement to get the money in bulk from Fidelity, her customer bank, instead of waiting for it to come to the state installmentally.”
The party insisted that “from the above information, it is very clear that the N8.9 billion qualifies as a loan and not an entitlement as suggested by the government. What type of entitlement is that? This Party arrived at this conclusion because of the fact that ideally and in real terms, according to the Government, the money was designed to come in tranches installmentally. That is the standard practice.
Imo PDP makes bold to ask how this Government arrived at the idea that of N8.9 billion being the share of Imo State Government from the Excess Crude Account? Have States’ shares from Excess Crude Account become fixed? For what periods is the N8.9 billion the share of Imo State Government?” the party queried.
The Party insisted that Governor Uzodimma’s regime was outrightly wrong and would have done well to wait for each tranch of the fund from the “Excess Crude Account” to come to the State instalmentally, than allegedly circumventing the order and getting the fund in bulk and apparently by force.
Imo PDP further expressed worry on why the alleged hurry to get the entire fund in bulk while accusing the administration of engaging in some alleged unorthodox pecuniary needs that have no communal benefit to the State and the people.
They also pointed out that the decision to hurriedly get the money in bulk left the red flag that the Government is up to something sinister with the State’s money.
Imo PDP said that they vehemently opposed the idea of the state Government getting the money in bulk, because it is not a normal and standard practice.
According to Imo PDP “the current regime is not the first in the 45-year old State, and it will not be the last. Our Party has the benefit of experience in being the longest and best occupant of Government House, Owerri. Hence, whenever Excess Crude Account is the issue, PDP understands it very well. The Executive arm does not require approval of the legislature to appropriate Excess Crude Account funds. Once the Legislature is involved, then it is a loan negotiation by the Executive arm that is supported by the Legislature” they insisted.
The opposition political party maintained that they insisted on their earlier conviction that Governor Uzodimma has only obtained a loan of whopping N8.9 billion, which from the official statement, Fidelity Bank Plc will be discounting from the State Government Account with them as the appropriate share of the State from the Excess Crude Account matures and reflects as having been deposited. It is a loan and nothing else. Unfortunately, the Legislature allegedly granted the Governor the leave to acquire such “questionable” loan.
The party further warned that “the current regime must desist from its constant mortgaging of the future of our State with multiple borrowings of loans in any disguise.
Governor Uzodinma should stop running Imo State on borrowed loans.
He must work out ways of generating revenue for the development of the State. With allocations from the federation account, the internally generated revenue, the excess crude account, ecological funds, and various other sources of revenue, Governor Uzodinma has no need for recurrent borrowings” they noted.