By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State government Wednesday in Calabar said it will access the 14.1 billion Naira fund available to each state of the federation from the federal government in order to support developmental projects in the state.
“It is no longer news that the economic realities are tough nationwide and as we witnessed last month, we had a negative statutory allocation from the federal government” the Finance Commissioner, Asuquo Ekpenyong told journalists after an emergency Exco session summoned to get approval to access what he termed a “Budget Support Facility”.
Ekpenyong explained that the tough days been experienced with “The fact that government expenditure is one of the highest factors when you are looking at national income” prompted the Federal Ministry of Finance to meet with the Finance Commissioners of the 36 states of the Federation “To discuss the means by which the allocation could be enhanced and how the state governments could be supported in their various budgets.”
“We have now being granted access to the sum of 14.1 billion Naira which will help to smoothen and stabilize the expenses of state governments” Ekpenyong said, adding that, “The outcome of that meeting (with Finance Minister Adeosun) led to the emergency Exco to get approval for us as a state to access this funding from the Federal Government, and after these we shall be approaching the House of Assembly to get clearance and an issuance of a resolution so as to support our documentation.
“The terms of this budget support facility are, a tenure of ten years, a concessionary interest rate of 9 percent as well as a 1 year moratorium which will really help the state.
What they have done is that to ensure fiscal discipline, the federal government has decided that the money shall be disbursed within a period of 12 months, 1.3 billion for the first 3 months and 1.1 billion for the remaining 9 months of the year.”
According to the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Rosemary Archibong, the emergency Exco meeting which was chaired by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu approved the memo raised to access the loan facility.
It will be recalled that Cross River State received negative statutory federal allocation last month as governments across the federation continue to seek answers to the near epileptic financial challenges largely blamed on the dwindling resources accruing into the nation’s coffers from its major export commodity; oil.
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