Oyo Assembly approves Governor’s request to access loan
By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
The Oyo State House of Assembly has approved Governor Seyi Makinde’s request to access the N18.7bn Nigerian Government Bridge Facility loan meant to cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
The request was contained in a letter forwarded to the state legislature by the Governor and read by the Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin, during an emergency plenary held late on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the bridge facility for all the 36 States of the Federation and to be accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The loan is meant to give support to states following the resumption of monthly deductions for the repayment of their various loan facilities, which had earlier been suspended due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The N18.7bn, which would be disbursed in six tranches (6months instalment) of N3.1bn each is expected to be repaid monthly for 30years (360 months).
The lawmakers, in their comments on the request, agreed that ‘‘such a loan facility from the Nigerian government was necessary and timely, as many states recorded huge losses during the pandemic.”
According to Akeem Adedibu (Chief Whip), Babajide Gabriel (Ibadan North 2), Bamidele Adeola (Iseyin/Itesiwaju) and Ayo Fatokun (Akinyele 1), since all the states are to access the loan facility, Oyo State should not be left out.
The lawmakers, however, urged ”the state government to expend the loan on developmental projects selected across all the senatorial districts in the state. ”
In his reaction, the Minority Leader, Asimiyu Alarape, who also suggested that the loan facility be used to develop key sectors, nonetheless urged ”the state government to be wary of the consequences of too many loans.”
The Speaker Ogundoyin, said ‘‘it was thoughtful of the Nigerian government to give financial support to state governments considering the scale of projects lined up in various states.”
He promised that the House, through its Committee on Public Account and Appropriation, would perform its oversight function by monitoring the accessing and the spending of the loan, to ensure that ”it is used to enhance the infrastructural development of the state.”