Diri gets Assembly approval for N17Bn loans


Gov Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State has secured approval of the House of Assembly for a total of N17Bn loans. The latest approval is for N14Bn to pursue Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and develop oil palm potentials.

The legislature also approved the governor’s request to access a N3Bn revolving temporary credit facility with a 12-month tenure to fund gaps with respect to critical financial obligations.

This brings total money borrowed by the Diri Prosperity Government to N19.9 billion having previously borrowed N2.9 billion for the purchase of official vehicles earlier this year.

A statement by the legislature released on Thursday said out of the total amount, N4.0 billion was a counterpart fund for SDGs development while N10 billion would be accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to develop oil palm potentials.

According to the statement, Governor Diri, in his letter, explained that the facilities are part of government efforts to cushion the effects of the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He argued that also owing to the dwindling crude oil revenues to the state, Bayelsa needed to take advantage of intervention funds from the Federal Government through the CBN and SDGs programme.

Also, the N3Bn revolving loan, the governor explained, would enable the state “to respond appropriately to critical monthly financial obligations” when there are shortfalls in monthly allocations to the state.

Unanimously approving the requests, legislators agreed that the pandemic has seriously affected the economic fortunes of the state due to a fall in global crude oil prices.

They said things were yet to return to normal and that the way most governments function all over the world are through borrowing and counterpart funding arrangements.

Meanwhile, the House of Assembly has also approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the 2021 to 2023 period.

The document gives government financial direction to plan its activities based on projected indices, take retrospective look at what has been done and also make appropriate adjustments.

Approving the document, in a separate statement, members also cautioned that it should be closely monitored in order to maximise its potentials.

In another development, the House of Assembly also gave Governor Diri leave to appoint an additional 10 special advisers.