Kawonise says Ogun already owes enough
A governorship aspirant of the Labour Party, LP, in Ogun State, Sina Kawonise, has kicked against the N19 billion loan request sent to the Ogun State House of Assembly by the governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
The request letter, read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Suraji Adekanbi, on Tuesday, asked the Assembly to grant approval for the Amosun government to source a loan of N19 billion from four banks – First Bank, GTBank, Sterling Bank and EcoBank.
Mr. Kawonise noted that the request was followed by a statement, a few days later, by the state Commissioner for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, claiming that the state owed N35.6 billion as at December, 2013.
“Why is the Amosun administration so economical with the truth? Why has this administration formed a habit of feeding the people of Ogun State with half truths and outright lies?” Mr. Kawonise asked.
“It is indeed quite unfortunate and immoral that Senator Ibikunle Amosun and his co-travellers are bent on mortgaging the future of our dear state. They have deliberately refused to give a detailed breakdown of the state’s debt profile.”
The Labour Party chieftain noted that while the state was quick to confirm that it owed N35.6 billion, it was deliberately silent on its level of indebtedness with regards to contingent liabilities.
He explained that contingent liabilities included the financial exposure of the government as regards arrears in workers entitlements, pension arrears, unpaid subvention to tertiary institutions and workers cooperative deductions, debt owed project contractors and other government suppliers.
“The foregoing need to be clearly spelt out to let the people of the state know the true debt profile of Ogun State. Not only that, details of agreement entered into with contractors on contractor finance on criminally inflated road projects must be made known.; how much is being paid to contractors using the instrument of Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders, lSPO, on a monthly basis and for how long would such payments be made by this and subsequent administrations in Ogun State. It is quite clear that if all these financial exposures are compiled, the debt profile of the state would stand, in the least, at N200 billion,” Mr. Kawonise said. “Must we compound the situation by adding yet another N19 billion debt?”
He said that until the Amosun administration gave a clear picture of the foregoing, then the request for a fresh loan of N19 billion was not made in good faith.
Mr. Kawonise asked members of the Ogun State House of Assembly not to be part of a mission to mortgage the future of Ogun State. He claimed that he was aware of rumours that the lawmakers were being offered N5 million each to ensure a speedy approval of the request and asked them not to be bribed into selling their future and the future of generations yet unborn.
“Posterity would be unforgiving of anyone who allows himself to be used on this occasion.
Finally, I call on the banks that are being approached with this needless request not to grant a loan that would turn out to be both unpayable and uncollectable,” he said.