Enugu lawmakers reject Chime’s request for N11b loan | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Enugu lawmakers reject Chime’s request for N11b loan

Posted: Apr 3, 2015 at 1:35 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu  /  Correspondent, Enugu

 

Members of Enugu State House of Assembly on Thursday unanimously rejected the request by Governor Sullivan Chime for the House to authorise the state government to obtain N11 billion loan from a commercial bank.

The lawmakers reached  the decision after considering a message by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Anthony Ani, from Governor Chime.

Governor Sullivan Chime

Governor Sullivan Chime

In the message, Chime made a request for a resolution of the House to authorise the state government to issue an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) to United Bank for Africa for amount not exceeding N11 billion to cover monies paid by the state government to contractors executing projects in the state.

The request generated a heated debate in the House with majority of the lawmakers kicking against the loan, warning that the incoming administration might find it very difficult to function with a heavy debt burden.

However, two of the lawmakers, Joseph Agbo Ugwumba (Enugu East Rural) and Johnbull Nwagu (Udi North) supported the request by the governor.

The Speaker, Eugene Odo, attempted to resolve the issue through voice vote but failed.

Odo, therefore, subjected the matter to individual voting and called the names of the lawmakers one after the other and told them to vote “yes” or “no”.

At the end of the voting, the Speaker announced that out of the 17 members who attended the sitting on Thursday, 13 voted against the governor’s request, two voted in support while two abstained.

Based on the result of the voting, Odo announced that the resolution is rejected.

Earlier, while contributing to the debate on the loan, Anthony Ogidi representing Igbo-Eze South said: “I know that an individual can take loan. I know that an organisation can take loan, but in this particular one, it is a different thing.

“We have barely 40 days to go here. I don’t know if I will come back. To grant N11 billion loan is very bad. I was in my village for campaign. I was told that we granted N11 billion loan so that we could share it with the outgoing members of the executive arm of government.

“I told my people that nothing like that happened. They said if I append my signature, that I will not go back to the House,” he stated.

Speaking in the same vein, Matthew Ugwueze representing Igbo-Eze South noted that “if you borrow money to pay a debt, then you are still indebted.”

He wondered why the Governor should be in a hurry to pay contractors when government is a continuum.

Meanwhile, the House has given an ultimatum to the Accountant-General (AG) of the state, Pascal Okoye, to pay the overhead of members by April 8 or incur the wrath of the House.

The AG was billed to appear before the House on Thursday to explain why the members have not received their overhead/imprest but he sent a letter to the House saying he was hospitalised.

The Speaker noted that it was disheartening that for reasons not known, an arm of government should be grounded by another arm of government.