Bayelsa’s debt profile Minister carpets Dickson
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has berated Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and an advocacy group, Association of Bayelsa Professionals, over the State’s debt profile.
Since Lokpobiri raised the alarm that the Bayelsa debt profile was in the region of N800bn (domestic) and $216m (foreign), the allegation has been generating controversies in the state.
The government, through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, described the N800bn debt claim by Lokpobiri as disgraceful and unexpected of a person occupying such an exalted position.
Iworiso-Markson, who put the state’s debt profile at N123bn, said that it was sad that the minister could quote wild debt figures with the intent to mislead the public and discredit the government.
Also, stakeholders, under the auspices of Association of Bayelsa Professionals, have challenged the minister to go beyond the level of threat and provide details of the N800bn he claimed the state government owed.
The group also asked the minister to supply the names of the financial institutions that gave the loans to the government.
The General-Secretary, ABP, Jasper Timiebi, clarified that the body waded into the matter because of the misleading dimension the allegation had assumed.
Timiebi noted that while the state government quoted a debt of N123bn, which the professionals verified and found to be the same as the figure released by the Debt Management Office, they were curious that Lokpobiri insisted that the state borrowed N800bn.
But Lokpobiri in a statement on Wednesday by his media aide, George Oji, berated Governor Dickson and the ABP, insisting that his claim was right.
The Minister, however, expressed gladness that Dickson had not denied that his government had collected over N1.2trn from the Federation Account from 2012 till last year, excluding 2018. Punch