The Rivers State government has described as mischievous and ignorant the criticism of its $280 million World Bank loan by the River State Chairman of the People Democratic Party, PDP, Felix Obuah. Mr. Obuah had said the fund is intended to fund the All Progressive Party’s, APC, activities in 2015.
Mr. Obuah, in a statement by his media aide, Jerry Needam, said the loan would enslave the people of River State.
“There can’t be any other reason for these incessant loans by an outgoing governor than to punish the incoming administration and the state in particular,” he said.
“Whether the loans have short or long term repayment conditions is immaterial at this point. Any society that lives on loans has no future and can never develop its own potentials. The PDP regretted that the latest loan of US$280million, which has a 22-year repayment period, would be used to fund Governor Amaechi’s 2015 election and the APC activities,” he added.
In a statement on Tuesday, the River Sate commissioner of Information and Communications, Ibim Semenitari, said the loan which is meant to “overhaul and rejuvenate” the state’s water sector was originally passed by the House of Assembly in 2012 but the project could not take off due to the refusal of the Federal Government to sign off on the project as statutorily required.
She explained that government re-introduced the water scheme in the 2014 budget, by this time the Federal Government had signed off on the scheme but since the project was re-introduced in a different fiscal year, the House of Assembly’s assent was still needed for the scheme to take off.
“But true to type, Obuah’s PDP, uncaring of the truth and in what has become its masterful display of ignorance and blind mischief has announced that the Rivers State Government is taking a fresh loan and that this is for the 2015 elections,” said Ms. Semenitari.
She said the state government has a history of being debt-free and its finances have been given a pass mark by both local and international debt rating agencies.
“Unfortunately, unlike the PDP, the Rivers State government is focused on ensuring governance and service-delivery to its people until its last day. Again much unlike most of the PDP controlled states, Rivers State has remained one of the least indebted states in the country.
Its financials have been reported as strong not only by international rating agencies, but also by the Federal Government agency responsible for monitoring states indebtedness, the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“Whenever the DMO releases debt figures, Rivers State remains unmentioned (in blue) where the PDP states who earn the same and in some cases more than Rivers State are in Crimson red, owing debts that will hang on the head of successive governments up to the 4th and 5th generations.” Mrs Semenitari said.
The spokesperson said that instead of Mr Obuah to be fretting about sincerity of the government, he should be worried by the allegation of corruption bedevilling his party.
“It is not news any longer that the PDP has led the nation’s economy on a downward spiral because of its lack of prudence and irresponsible stewardship of its resources. Nigerians are still waiting for the report of the probe into the 48.9 billion dollars NNPC funds. In the meantime, delegates at the National Conference have alleged another missing N730 billion from the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA. Rather than address these issues, the PDP is sending Nigerians off on a wild goose chase. But while the PDP can deceive some of the people, some of the time, it cannot deceive all the people, all the time,” she said.