The 40Billion Bond: Matters Arising II BY VENATIUS IKEM

In Business & Economy, Columnists, Opinion, Politics

by crossriverwatch admin

Venatius Ikem
Venatius Ikem

As most citizens are aware, the Cross River State House of Assembly, yesterday passed into law a Bill seeking to approve the issuance of a Bond to the tune of 40Billon naira and related matters.

I am not a close watcher of activities and proceedings of the CRSHA, but for those who say they know, said there was an accelerated hearing almost unprecedented in their history. Not that it matters. It was expected.

Even the acceleration of the interest of members was to be expected except that yours sincerely will never be given the credit for these unintended consequences of his public outcry. Not to worry because it was never meant for personal gain. That’s on the lighter side.

Legislative approval however, does not signal that the Bond has been issued. Neither does it guarantee that it will be successfully issued. What the Assembly did was to right the application for the Bond in the first place.

Having said that, let me add that I have been slow to react to the many comments bothering on my write up on this page and other avenues on this subject. The reason is that I have not seen any coherent explanation for the issuance of the Bond in the first instance to warrant a reaction.

I saw a link to an article that claimed to explain it but has been ” unoppenable” since yesterday. The closest to an official reaction is the one posted by Mr. Iyke Obi on my wall.

The gravamen of his explanation to my understanding is:

1) The Bond does not seek to collect a fresh loan. That rather it seeks to correct anomalies in the previous Bond issued by Donald Duke and other loans.

2) That the Law seeks to give a legal framework to debt management in the State.

3) That the Bond is well intentioned and the projects are of high end value (my words) to CRS.

4) And less importantly that yours sincerely is only manipulating words aimed at discrediting the Imoke Administration.

Now, to address these issues raised let me start by thanking Iyke for bridging the gap between government and the rest of us with his well informed write up. Even for his kind and gracious words to me for once. I am even flattered by his commendation.

On 1) I wish to ask if the Bond taken during the Duke Administration did not have a tenor. Every Bond is what I will call in simple economic language a term loan.

In other words at inception it is issued as a bond for a defined period of time. 5, 10, 15, etc year Bond.

If it was, it must have matured by now, depending on its tenor or should be about to. So what is the explanation for a fresh bond to reissue it.

Maybe your information is incomplete otherwise you need to be better informed. Furthermore on this what are the other components that make up the remaining 34.5bn since you say the Duke era Bond was 4.5bn?

What were these other loans taken for?

Where are the approvals obtained previously as to legitimize them?

That a loan was taken illegally ab initio, does not make it to become legitimate by legislation!

If this point of Law will not be appreciated I am taking legal action for interpretation by the appropriate court of Law in the days ahead.

Our people are dying from lack of knowledge and we cannot exploit them because everyone seems cowed by political power.

2) Why did it take this administration 7 years and 4 months to come to this realization?

Enough of this nonsense! The Debt Management Office in Cross River State is almost as old as this Administration.

3) What are the projects?

If all the projects contemplated in this Bond many of which commenced since 2011 are of such high end value and there was necessity to fund them from the capital Market, my recurring question remains: “why now”?

What will then be the position of the appropriate share of Cross River state resources already expended on the same projects over this period, outside money raised from the Market?

Will it be returned to the treasury? Otherwise you leave me even more suspicious that we are merely looking for money to fund our “succession-by-selection-by-force” politics! And of course to guarantee a cover up of these shenanigans!

I am not an illiterate in dealing with financial matters. I think it will be unpatriotic to let sentiments rather than reason to guide us.

I may have made some mistakes in my assumption too but that will be because of the opaque nature of our management of public finances.

As I take more interest in this matter I am ready to research it and unravel the subterfuge in this Bond issue. You cannot fool all the people all the time.

4) My dear Iyke, I have dedicated my entire adult life to politics and public service. I turn 50 this month. I have come to that point in my life when I need not fear anything or anybody again.

I have nothing to gain from discrediting Senator Imoke or his administration in which I served creditably even if I say so myself.

I am never going to be known for anything more than my services to the public and in the public good.

I am re dedicating myself more passionately in the time ahead as God shall grant me to this cause.

Our state cannot remain like this! We must make sacrifices to create change for tomorrow.

That is my mission.

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