By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA THE Bayelsa State House of Assembly has explained that the loan approvals granted the Governor Douye Diri led administration are legitimate and tied to specific items on project interventions and development.
The Assembly had in the last few months come under criticism over approvals of loan requests from the state governor.
But the leadership of the Assembly through its House Committee Chairman on Information, Hon. Tari Pori representing Ekeremor I constituency dismissed as “unfounded” the claims of unnecessary loan approvals to the Diri administration, insisting that all loan requests granted the present administration are legitimate and tied to specific items.
Pori, who made this known in Yenagoa while giving an account of stewardship of the House leadership following the end of the second session of the year 2020, said the recent approvals are specifically for counterpart funding and intervention projects with institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), SDGs and MDGs.
He said: “These approvals are tied to specific items. The loan approvals are to allow the state government to access the interventionist funding and by the time the money is made available, the state would be better for it. They are not monies in the state government account.
“These are counterpart funding meant for intervention development. You cannot access such funds without the state making a commensurable contribution.
“We want to assure Bayelsans that once the monies are accessed, we will monitor and do our oversight function to ensure it is used for the purpose. We have also approved N3.5bn as counterpart funding for SUBEB. If all these monies are used for the purpose, it will benefit the people.
“These are why you see some people refer to Bayelsa Assembly as a rubber stamp. There is nothing like a rubber stamp anywhere. The truth is that if you don’t have the details, you will find it difficult to appreciate what the state Assembly is doing.
“The question should be that are these projects in communities? The truth is that anything that will support the people of the state will be supported by the Assembly.
“The state government has not accessed most of the monies. The approval for zero digit loan sought from CBN has not been accessed. The loan to revamp Bayelsa Palm have not also been accessed. By the time these monies are made available, it will not go into government pocket. There is already a template that makes the money for the purpose it was meant for. They are not loans for government spending.”
Hon. Pori, also, announced that at the end of the second session the House of Assembly passed a total of 18 bills into law with over 10 motions and resolutions.
He said though the 6th Assembly has adjourned till January 18th, 2021, the sixth Assembly has been the most pro-active legislative arm under the leadership of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ingobere despite the challenges faced during the Covid-19 shutdown, the flood disaster that sacked legislators from their homes and the #Endsars protest nationwide.
Hon. Pori noted that the 18 bills passed into law are expected to have a positive impact on the people of the state, adding that the state Assembly has made citizen participation and public hearing mandatory during budget consideration by the House.
He commended the state governor for sustaining a healthy relationship between the legislature and the executive.