A Civil Society Organisation promoting fiscal responsibility in Niger Delta, Policy Alert has urged the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) to investigate serial loans acquired by the Akwa Ibom State government without following due process.
The organisation on Thursday in a statement by its Programme Officer, Faith Paulinus, noted that the loans obtained by the state government in succession breached the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Akwa Ibom State Fiscal Responsibility Law 2020.
The group said the call became necessary following the State Assembly’s latest approval to the request by governor Udom Emmanuel to obtain a loan of N150 Billion from the money market.
The group accused both the legislature and the executive arm of government of collusion to impose an unsustainable debt burden on the state.
The group added that governor Emmanuel failed to honour the legal provisions of the federal and state fiscal responsibility laws which allows state governments intending to borrow to analyze to the public through the legislature how the loan will be liquidated and would not put the state into an unsustainable debt situation.
According to the statement, “the Fiscal Responsibility Commission should launch an investigation into the loan approval processes of Akwa Ibom government.
“We find the acquiescence of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on the recent loan requests highly disappointing and deem it a generational betrayal.”
The group expressed apprehension that the latest loan request which came a few weeks after the governor announced his succession plan was a testament to the suspicion
that the funds may end up being used to prosecute the governor’s 2023 political agenda.
The organisation also decried the state government’s spending on interest payments for these loans, noting that the sudden spike in interest payments for 2021 indicates an irregularity.
The statement also decried the high debt profile of the state government in 2021 as published by Debt Management Office, Abuja on September 30, 2021, which showed that the State’s domestic debt stock stood at N234.85 billion stressing that, it could portend disaster for fiscal space and development prospects of the state in the future.
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