Governor Dickson seeks N40 billion loan for Bayelsa airport project

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa

The N40 billion loan facility would attract a total interest of N32billion to be serviced within eight years.

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Less than a year after obtaining a 66 million Euros (N13 billion) foreign loan from Poland for a Maritine University in September 2013, the Bayelsa government has concluded plans for another loan facility. The new facility would, however, be from Nigerian banks and for an airport project.

Mr. Dickson told Bayelsa lawmakers that despite the federal government’s involvement in the airport construction, the state government needed a N40 billion loan for the project.
The N40billion loan to be sourced from commercial banks in Nigeria will finance the cargo airport project, being constructed near Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

The governor had, last week, forwarded a letter of request to the People Democratic Party, PDP, dominated House of Assembly, seeking approval for the loan.

Although details of the loan are yet to be made public, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the N40 billion loan facility would attract a total interest of N32 billion to be serviced within eight years, bringing total repayment to N72 billion.

Mr. Dickson in the letter assured the Assembly that the airport would be ready for use by the last quarter of 2015.

He said the Federal Government’s contribution to the airport project is the construction of the terminal building; while the federal government’s earlier contract awarded through the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to sand fill the site, would continue at its pace.

“Out of the total estimated cost of the project, the state government has already expended the sum of N9.3billion for payment of compensation for land, consultancy services, construction of run-way and clearing of land, among others”, Mr. Dickson stated.

Following the governor’s request, the state House of Assembly on Tuesday invited relevant government officials to provide details of the loan.

Those invited were the Commissioner for Finance, Duate Iyabi, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Kemasuode Wodu, the state Accountant General, Tarimo Aseimo, and the Managing Director of Bayelsa Airlines, Henry Ungbuku.

The four officials, in their submissions during questioning by the lawmakers at a session presided over by the Speaker, Konbowei Benson, assured of the socio-economic benefits of the airport to the state and allayed the fear that the loan may be diverted into private pockets.

The all PDP 24-member assembly is expected to approve the loan.


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