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Kogi State entangle in Nbillions debts—despite Paris Club refund and bailouts –Report

The Kogi state government obtained loans of at least N16 billion between May 2017 and January 2018, TheCable NG can report.

This is despite over N20 billion which accrued to the state from the Paris Club refund.

Paris Club refund is a partial settlement of long-standing claims by state governments relating to over-deductions from their federation account allocation committee (FAAC) allocation for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002.

In the first tranche of the refund, the state got N11.2bn, while it got N6.02bn and over N4 billion in the second and third tranches respectively.

Kogi also benefitted from the bailout which the federal government gave to states.

However, documents seen by TheCable showed that the state house of assembly approved loans of N13.2bn on December 5, 2017.

When he met with reporters in January, Yahaya Bello, governor of the state, said his government borrowed N10bn, a figure short of N3.2bn.

Documents show that Kogi got another loan of N3.5bn on January 31, 2018.

Still, in January, the government borrowed a separate N1.2bn from Fidelity Bank Plc. The ministry of finance had entered an agreement with the bank that 123,250,244 million should be deducted from its revenue over a 12-month period.

On March 20, 2018, the state treasury quarters issued an irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO) to Zenith Bank to make monthly deductions of N236,892,000 from its Lokoja bank account over a period of 18 months, as repayment of an N3.5bn loan which was said to be used for budget implementation.

Critics have accused the current administration in the state of mismanaging resources, an allegation the governor and his aides have consistently denied.

Although part of the obtained loans was said to be for payment of salaries Kogi is still owing workers till date.

On Thursday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wrote to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to protest the alleged non-payment of over seven months salary by the state.

Kingsley Fanwo, Bello’s spokesman, was not available for comments when this report was filed as his telephone line was switched off.

TheCable NG

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