Rivers: Wike Government speaks on owing banks

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The Government of Rivers State has refuted claims that the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike is hugely indebted to banks in country.

The Government urged Nigerians to disregard the falsehood being peddled by those he described as ‘anti-Rivers political forces.’

The Debt Management Office had last week listed Rivers as one of the highly indebted States.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Paulinus Nsirim, stated this yesterday, when he addressed journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

Nsirim said, “This misinformation is another attempt by detractors to malign the integrity of the current administration in the state which has since its inception in May 2015, shown utmost frugality in the management of state resources.

“This appears to be another orchestrated plan to de-market the state through unconfirmed statistics since other forms of negative propaganda had failed.

“That with a healthy monthly Internally Generated Revenue profile of at least N8 billion, the state does not resort to reckless borrowing that will make her run into debts.

“That as a matter of deliberate policy, the current administration in Rivers State desirous to leave behind a worthy legacy, does not embark on white elephant projects that will require bogus financial obligations,” he said.

He disclosed the state government operates accounts with only Zenith and Access banks, noting that it (state government) had repaid all loans obtained.

“That the state government inherited a commercial bank loan of N15,845,118,108.44 in 2015, which had been liquidated.

“That all loans taken by this administration for the infrastructure development of the state from Zenith and Access banks had been liquidated too.

“That the issues of debts owed to contractors, pension arrears etc, that the Debt Management Office used to stigmatise the state are recurrent and capital expenditures, which payments are ongoing.

“That the Federal Government’s intervention loans approved for every state of the federation has a repayment plan that is spread over many years. Rivers State government has not defaulted on the repayment plan.

“That we do not know where purveyors of this concocted information got their facts before they went to the media to misinform the public,” he said.

He emphasised that the Wike-led administration has been prudent in the management of scarce state resources backed by a healthy monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“That since 2015 till now, the governor, through a well-articulated fiduciary template, has made governance better than how he met it.

“That unlike previous administrations that left behind huge debt profiles, the current administration will not mortgage the future of the state in any way.

“That journalists and media houses should adhere to the dictum, ‘Facts Are Sacred’, by always cross-checking their facts before publication.

“That the Rivers state government under the visionary leadership of the governor will not be distracted by any form of yellow journalism, but will remain focused to fulfil the social contract with the people,” Nsirim said.