Saturday, September 12

Abandoned projects, reason for N30bn loan – Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that he decided to take loans after he assumed office in order to pay backlog of salaries owed workers and complete some abandoned projects in the state.

Wike said on Friday that it would have been difficult for his administration to pay contractors if he had waited for the next federal allocation.

He explained that since he met an empty treasury on the assumption of office as the state governor, the loans helped him to kick-start the new administration with contractors moving back to sites.

Pointing out that every loan taken by his government was tied to specific projects with verifiable and workable repayment plan; Wike stated that the issue of unpaid pensions, overseas students’ allowances had been addressed.

Wike, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, was reacting to the criticism by the All Progressives Congress that his administration took N30bn loan in 30 days.

He noted that there wouldn’t have been any need for the loans if the immediate past administration had been prudent in the management of the state’s resources.

He said, “Rotimi Amaechi in one of his valedictory speeches admitted that the state is broke and he is bequeathing an empty treasury to Governor Wike.

“We inherited an empty treasury festered by huge pecuniary liabilities such as backlog of salaries, pensions, fees for students on scholarships and a plethora of other burning issues, including abandoned projects.

“Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the governor going for loans; the issue is not whether loans are taken, but the judicious application of such loans is what should be the issue.” He added that the APC was paranoid by the fact that he was performing creditably to the admiration and satisfaction of the people.

Reacting, the State APC Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Finebone, told Saturday PUNCH that what the governor described as achievements were aimed at deceiving the people.

Finebone said, “As far as we are concerned, there is no achievement. All he (Wike) claims to have been doing is to deceive the people. But we are careful enough to notice and tell the people that so far, it has been deception and not real.”

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