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Edo, APC disagree over state’s debt profile

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The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to stop securing loans, noting that the “N9bn” loan recently approved by the House of Assembly was needless and will plunge the state into financial distress.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, the acting Chairman of the state APC, Jarrett Tenebe, said the state was already suffering under a debt profile of N135bn and $35.6bn.

He said, “The governor is unyielding and unstoppable in his characteristic design to leave Edo State in ruin by asking for a facility of N17.5bn a few days ago, which was said to be N9m.

“It is important to state that it is now in public and political space that the budget of Edo State was passed a few weeks ago before the Edo State House of Assembly proceeded on leave without the commencement of the execution of the budget by the executive.

“It is most disheartening that the Edo State Government now is requesting for a facility of N17.5bn with no corollary of project attached there to the said facility and also that the facility is not contained as loan to be taken in the 2024 fiscal budget just recently passed. A cursory perusal of the entire budget does not reveal where the project for the facility is ever captured.

“While it is important to state that the citizens of Edo State has been taken through difficult and hard times by the Obaseki-led administration, it is our request and most profoundly too that the Obaseki administration stops these borrowing which its proceeds found their way into his pocket and that of his co-travelers, as Edo State has suffered enough decay in infrastructural and other developmental sects.

“Edo State is yearning for a bold change hence we are using this medium to call on the Edo People to completely reject the PDP and their shenanigans and vote massively for the APC that offers the best alternative to the present administration,” he added.

However, in a statement by Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, said opposition politics was not cynicism.

The statement reads, “We are perplexed to learn of the quite laughable and incredibly ridiculous tantrums attributed to the new acting chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the APC, Jarret Tenebe, where he made baseless and spurious allegations on the fiscal management of our dear state by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government.

“In his infertile rambling, Tenebe made wild and completely off-the-mark comments suggesting that Edo State owes $35bn. Even if that was what was written for him, he should have known that the figure is wrong and can’t be true.

In reality, our debt stock is not a secret, and in fact, we have ‘under borrowed’. Tenebe would have known this if he understood the economics of governance, fiscal responsibility and debt-to-GDP ratio.

The recent facility approved by the State Assembly was to amongst other projects, enable the state government to procure electric buses to enhance the state’s transportation system.

“Tenebe’s attention must be drawn to the fact that opposition politics is not cynicism. Opposition politics requires intelligence, tact and not childish tantrums,” he added

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