The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Tuesday approved the request by Governor Godswill Akpabio to borrow $500 million (N78 billion) from the Standard Chartered Bank International, London.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation and Finance, Onofiok Luke, said this at the plenary session of the house.

He said the committee gave the request of the governor accelerated hearing as demanded.

Mr. Luke added that the committee organised a public hearing to ascertain why the government needed the loan “at this time” before approving the request.

“The committee hereby recommends to the house for approval of the request of the governor to obtain the 500 million dollars from Standard Chartered International Bank of London,” he said.

He added that the approval was “based on the clarity given by the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, and the commitment of Governor Godswill Akpabio to the initiation and completion of life-touching projects”.

The Chairman said that the Assembly also considered “the need to bring down the cost of governance and make some financial savings for the well being of the people of Akwa Ibom”.

The Assembly Leader, Okpolupum Ette, moved the motion and the report of the committee was accepted; as the house approved the loan for the government.

The Speaker, Samuel Ikon, commended the governor for seeking the loan to reduce double digit interest rate to single digit but advised that the facility should be used for the purpose intended.

Mr. Akpabio, on April 18, sought the approval of the Assembly for the loan.

According to him, the proceeds of the facility will be utilised to offset all outstanding loan commitments of the state government to UBA Plc.

He added that the loan would drastically reduce the applicable interest that government would have paid on the facility from UBA Plc which ran into billions of naira.

The governor said that the loan from UBA attracted interest rate of 18.5 per cent, while standard chartered bank international loan rate was 8.19 per cent.


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