By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” The Benue State House of Assembly has given approval to the executive arm of government to procure loan facilities from major finance houses to the tune of over N20 billion.
According to a letter to the House from Governor Gabriel Suswam, dated 18th August 2009, the facility is intended to aid the government finance its developmental projects which have been starved of funds due to dwindling resources at governmentâ€™s disposal.
The approval of the loan facility followed a debate by members of the House on the said letter which had earlier been read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Mr. Terseer Tsumba.
The Governor had, through the memo, informed the Assembly that the request had become expedient in order to ensure that the projects started by his administration were completed within the time span earmarked for them especially before the 2011 general election.
Suswam lamented that the state government had in the last one year experienced over 457% shortfall in its revenue intake stressing that the development had, to a large extent, slowed down the pace of delivery of ongoing projects in the state.
According to the Governor, the state had also experienced drastic shortfall in its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) profile which he attributed to the drop in both economic and business activities in the country as a result of the current global financial crisis.
A break down of the Governorâ€™s letter showed that the government would float a Bond valued at N13billion which would be ploughed into the ongoing Anyii-Ugba-Amaafu-Abaji-Zaki-Ibiam-Gbeji road projects as well as sixteen other road projects spread across the state.
While N7bllion would be sourced from various commercial banks and the Nigeria Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank, to be expended in the revival of the agricultural sector of the stateâ€™s economy.
In a unanimous resolution through the motion moved by the Majority Leader of the House Mr. David Mwar, the House gave its nod to the Executive arm to secure the facilities in order to facilitate the completion of ongoing projects in parts the state.