A group of indigenes of Gombe State has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to grant any fresh request for loan by their state government.
It said the plea was to avoid burying the state under a mountain of debts from frivolous loans allegedly being obtained by Governor Inuwa Yahaya.
The Gombe Good Leadership Association (GGLA) made the appeal to the CBN in a statement on Friday signed by one of its trustees, Salisu Abdullahi.
The same group had in an earlier statement raised an alarm over debts being incurred by the governor ostensibly for development purposes.
It said the governor has ignored its warnings against mortgaging the state’s future and has gone ahead to seek additional loans running into billions of naira from banks.
The group, in the new statement titled ‘The Gombe State Borrowing Governor Is At It Again’, warned of the dangers of the governor’s borrowings.
“The Governor has plunged Gombe State into a quagmire of crippling debts. Nothing is more reckless than borrowing money to repay a debt or cope with the crushing effect of existing debts.
“The public will recall that we have recently made a press release concerning the spate of reckless borrowing by the Muhammadu Inuwa Yaya-led Administration of Gombe State. Just when we thought we had seen it all from the Governor, a copy of the letter by the Governor to the Honourable Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly dated 20 October 2021 with reference number GO/GD/FED-98/V.I proved us wrong.
“In the letter, the Governor is requesting for the resolution of the Gombe State House of Assembly allowing him to access the Federal Government’s Bridging Finance Facility in the sum of N18,746,059,992.57(Eighteen Billion, Seven Hundred and Forty -Six Million, Fifty-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Two Naira, Fifty-Seven Kobo)”, the GGLA added.
According to the statement, “In the words of the Governor, Mr. President has approved ‘: Six Hundred and Fifty-Six Billion, One Hundred and Twelve Million, Nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Naira, Three Kobo (656,112,9,740.03) Bridging Finance to 35 States of the Federation to cushion the effect of the repayment of the existing Federal Government Intervention Facilities (Budget Support Facility, Excess Crude Account- Backed Loan Facility and Salary Arrears Bailout Facility).’
“For emphasis, we reiterate that the Muhammadu Inuwa Yaya-led Administration of Gombe State has, between March 2020 and July 2021, procured the following debts: ‘N14.5 Billion from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Plc; N2.0 Billion to finance Healthcare Infrastructure Development in Gombe State; N12.0 Billion Credit Facility from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; N10.8 Billion Finance Facility from United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and N5.0 Billion from Family Homes Funds for the provision of one thousand units of Affordable Housing Units’”, it added.
According to the group, “The above-listed debts do not include the N11 Billion borrowed by the previous Administration for the Gombe Revenue Optimization Company Limited (GROCOL) but received by the present Government. This N11 Billion brings the total amount of money obtained as debt by the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya-led Administration with a space of a little over two years to N55.3 Billion.
“If the Governor is allowed to obtain the N35 Billion debt that has been hurriedly approved by the Gombe State House of Assembly on 13 October 2021 and the proposed debt of N18,746,059,992.57, for which it is seeking approval in his latest letter to the Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, the Governor would have succeeded in amassing a total debt of over N109 Billion (One Hundred and Nine Billion Naira) in a little over of two years of his administration.
“There is no gainsaying that the debt service to the overall revenue of Gombe State is excessive and inimical to the economic and developmental aspirations of the State. From the Governor’s showing, the revenue of the state cannot even take care of the recurrent and debt servicing portfolio of the State.
“The Federal Government t has been indulging State Governors and pressuring the Central Bank to lend monies (it doesn’t have) to Governors under all sorts of dubious projects and schemes.
“We, therefore, call on the Central Bank to resist any temptation to further advance any loan to the borrowing Governor of Gombe State who is hell-bent on mortgaging the state to satisfy his selfish ends,” it added.
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