Benue Assembly approves Ortom’s request to borrow N18.225bn

Benue House of Assembly on Tuesday approved a request made by Gov. Samuel Ortom to borrow N18.225 billion from the Federal Government.

Ortom asked for approval to take the loan to cushion the effect of repayment of bailout funds collected in 2015 and 2016.

He told the House in a letter read by the Speaker, Mr Titus Uba, that the Federal Government had offered a bridging finance facility window for state governments to access such loans.

He told the House also that the Federal Government provided funding windows (bailout) at the inception of his first term in 2015.

The bailout, he explained, was to enable states to pull out of the recession occasioned by the crash in crude oil prices.

Ortom explained further that the Federal Government had begun the deduction of the bailout funds, but suspend the monthly exercise to provide additional liquidity to states because of the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020.

He told the House that deductions from state allocations in respect of the bailout funds and other interventions had been restored with a resultant funding gap for states.

He stated that the Federal Government had, therefore, approved for the bridging finance facility to the tune of N656.112 billion for all the states to ameliorate the situation.

The governor stated also that the amount approved for Benue was N18.225 billion with disbursement in six tranches at the interest rate of nine per cent per annum.

He said the loan tenor would be 30-years with moratorium of two years and at monthly repayment mode.

The governor therefore, appealed to the House to approve his request to enable him to continue to deliver dividends of democracy and implement policies and programmes contained in the 2021 budget and beyond.

The House granted the governor’s request in a unanimous resolution. (NAN)

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