I SAVED N28BN FOR RIVERS IN 3 YEARS â€“ AMAECHI
Rivers Governor, Chibuike Amaechi says his administration has saved N28 billion for the state since its inauguration more than three years ago. He made the disclosure on Sunday in Abuja while fielding reporters' questions at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Peoples Forum.
Amaechi attributted the feat to prudent management of public funds, which he said, was necessary to safeguard the future of the unborn generation in the state.
'I had promised the people of the state that I will save N1 billion every month from monies we receive from the federation account.
'And that I had consistently done, even though it has not been easy, as we have to address our development challenges at the same time,' the governor said.
Amaechi noted that the law governing savings did not, however, allow the state to withdraw the savings until a certain period.
This condition, he said, was the reason his administration had to borrow N30 billion recently from a bank.
He explained that the borrowed money would be expended on the completion of projects that were nearing completion in the state while new ones would also commence.
Amaechi said he decided to run a second time because his people persuaded him to re-contest as the state governor in the forthcoming election.
' Though I would have wanted to take a rest having done one term as governor of the state because I am tired, I am back in the race because my people wanted me back,''Amaechi said.
On his administration's decision to stop the payment of the '13th month salary'' to civil servants, Amaechi said it was a decision taken in the overall interest of the state.
'I feel pained for taking the decision but we have to take it because we need money to do other things like building quarters for our civil servants and sending our children to school,' Amechi said.
He said 300 indigent students were annually sent to Canada to study under the state government's scholarship scheme, noting that the scheme was a sense of pride to him.
'I feel honoured to see students in foreign universities walk up to me each time I travel abroad to say they are there studying owing to Rivers State Government's Scholarship Scheme,'' the governor said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NUJ Peoples Forum, with the theme 'Making Accountability the Watchword' was organised to bring public office holders to give account of their stewardship to the people.
The forum was geared towards enhancing accountability in governance and ensuring that the people derived maximum benefits from their elected political leaders.
Amaechi was the third guest at the forum which started in December 2010 and had earlier featured Akwa-Ibom and Kano State governors.