Friday, 25 September 2015

LOUIS AMOKE CLEARS THE AIR ON THE ENUGU STATE N14.207 BILLION BAILOUT FUNDS

Rt. Hon. Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State Governor
Few days ago, the Enugu State Executive Council and the State House of Assembly authorized the State Government to separately procure the N4.207 billion bailout fund through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for “the liquidation of outstanding salaries, pension and pension arrears and subventions for parastatals, institutions and boards” and N10 billion loan from the apex bank for infrastructural and developmental projects in the state, respectively.

The said loans were in response to the negative development in the nation’s oil sector which has adversely reduced the state’s revenue allocation from federation account to a level that is not encouraging. It is on record that Enugu state is third from the bottom of the federation account and a civil service state depending on the federal allocation for the execution of most of her capital projects.

Today, the story is no longer the same, as the revenue of the state like every other states of the federation keeps dwindling to an all-time-low, making it difficult for the state government to fulfill his campaign promises to the people of the state.

It is therefore, encouraging to note that the Federal Government through the National Economic Council (NEC) saw the wisdom to offer bailouts to most states to enable them offset workers’ salaries and other entitlements relating to their welfare and assist the states execute some capital projects.

This basically informed the reason the Enugu State Government recently embarked on the processes for the procurement of the funds to enable it consolidate on the on-going developmental projects in the state and deal with the issues of outstanding salaries for casual workers, pension and pension arrears and subventions for parastatals, institutions and boards in order to alleviate the sufferings of the workers in these government establishments which rely on the subventions to pay salaries.

Some of these government establishments include:
·         Institute of Management and Technology (IMT)
·         Enugu State Transport Company (ENTRACO)
·         Daily Star
·         Enugu State Water Corporation.

On the uniqueness, safety and convenient of the loans, it is pertinent to note that the said loans which are based on the outcome of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of June 2015, are to be secured by Excess Crude Account (ECA). Interestingly, the loans carry a single digit interest rate of nine per cent and tenure of 20 years repayment.

In view of the foregoing, the negative misconception being adduced to the loans by a national newspaper is not only incorrect but also misleading. First, it is incorrect and a misrepresentation of facts to allege that Enugu State has not received the bailout funds. The truth is that the state has complied with all the requirements by the CBN for the loans and has submitted to the apex bank all the necessary documents towards accessing the bailout funds for workers’ entitlements and the loan for infrastructural and developmental projects.

Secondly, the news report on page 38 of vanguard newspaper of Wednesday, September 23, 2015, entitled “Enugu House Secretly Approves N14.2billion for Ugwuanyi” is not only false and mischievous but also another failed attempt to give the processes of the approval a wrong interpretation.

The fact is that there was no secrecy in the processes of the approval for the procurement of the said loans as was erroneously represented in the said publication. The proceedings for the authorization of the loans by the Enugu State House of Assembly followed due process, was done in the open in the presence of the media and has no secrecy attached to it.

May I therefore, state that the loans are in the overall interest of the people of the state who will eventually reap the benefits associated with it in the areas of workers’ welfare, infrastructural development, advancement of good governance and other people-oriented programmes of the Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration in Enugu State. The Governor, by this move, has demonstrated once again his unflinching commitment to selfless service and the actualization of his 4-point agenda which he holds very dear to his heart.

In spite of the economic challenges, Gov. Ugwuanyi has made tremendous achievements in providing quality leadership and infrastructural development in the state. The governor has also introduced chains of innovations and ideas aimed at boosting the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state and making Enugu State the investment destination of choice in the South East geo-political zone. He has equally maintained the tradition of prompt payment of salaries of workers in the Ministries.

The CBN loans will no doubt consolidate on these remarkable achievements and facilitate his administration’s drive to bring good governance to the doorsteps of the people of the state with a firm commitment to their welfare as true heroes of democracy. It is therefore the responsibility of the public especially the people of the state to continue to give the present administration the support and cooperation it deserves to move the state forward. (vanguard)
Louis Amoke is the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.