Rivers Assembly Grants Amaechi's Request To Withdraw N19bn From Reserved Funds
The Rivers State House of Assembly on Monday, granted a request by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to access and withdraw the sum of N19 billion from the reserved fund of the state.
The reserved fund was established through a law of the House of Assembly in 2008, for the state government to compulsorily save the sum of N1 billion every month.
All 22 lawmakers, who attended the sitting unanimously voted for the approval of the request after House Leader, Hon Chidi Lloyd called for the approval of the request, dated October 20, 2014, and addressed to the House through the Speaker, Rt Hon. Otelemaba Dan-Amachree.
In his submissions, Lloyd, who is the member representing Emohua Constituency in the House argued that the essence of savings is to cushion the effects of difficult times.
He said, “The request before us couldn't have come at a better time. The essence of saving is for rainy days such as this. We are lucky that we are approving the governor to access funds that have been saved. These funds will be ploughed in ensuring that in line with the policy of government not to leave any project abandoned; government will channel these funds towards completing capital projects.”
Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the sitting, chairman of the House committee on Finance, Hon Josiah John Olu, explained that the request became necessary so that government can run, as there was no allocation to the states in the last Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
He said, “As you are aware, the governor sent a request to the House seeking our permission to access N19bn of our reserved fund. It is important for us to tell Rivers people that this was necessary because we are all aware that the money we get from FAAC, the centre is dry. This month the commissioner of finance and the accountant-general just came back from the FAAC meeting telling us that there was no money to even share to the states.
“You know the magnitude of projects that the government has embarked upon. It's important that we access those funds so that we could be able to pay our contractors; so that government can function, so that government can run.
“Let's not also forget that this is money that was saved by this present administration. The 6th Assembly passed a law that we should be saving one billion naira every month for the rainy day. The rainy day is here and that is why we are trying to access the fund. We are not borrowing, Rivers Assembly did not approve any borrowing for the governor to access money from any bank we are just accessing our own reserve fund so that we can meet our obligations.”
Olu, who is the member representing Eleme Constituency in the House, stated that the state government was yet to access the N50 billion first trench loan which the Assembly earlier gave the governor approval.
The lawmaker said, “I want to tell Rivers people that this Assembly approved that the governor can go to the bond market to access a one hundred billion naira bond, which the governor came back, we broke it into two trenches. The first trench was supposed to be N50 billion. It is important for us to know that we have not accessed event that N50 billion. Anybody that knows the process that is involved in accessing funds from the money market as it relates to bonds knows that its a tedious work.
“As it is now we have not even published so we are even far from accessing the N50 billion, so its not part of our debt profile. Rivers State is one of the states in the country that is least indebted because we are servicing our loans and our debts. In the wisdom of the governor he insisted that virtually all that we get from IGR should be channeled to servicing the loans so that when he leaves office there will be very little debt that the incoming government will take over from him.”
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