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Otu denies taking loans since assumption of office

…challenges DMO over fresh borrowing

Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Otu has denied taking nor signing for any loan (domestic or foreign), since the inception of his administration on 29 May 2023 to date.

The Governor’s reaction follows the misrepresentation of the figures presented on the spreadsheet of the Debt Management Office, DMO and posted on its website.

The same figure from the DMO is what some media houses, notably the Punch Newspaper, relied upon, analysed, and reported on their Sunday, 31 March 2024 edition.

Speaking through Mr Nsa Gill, his Chief Press Secretary, on Wednesday, Governor Otu wondered how the Debt Management Office arrived at N220.2billion as the domestic debt profile of Cross River State as of December 2023, up from N204.04billion posted for the state as of 30 June 2023.

The difference in the figures, subtracting N204billion from N220.2billion is the purported N16.2billion reported as a fresh domestic loan allegedly obtained by Governor Bassey Otu’s administration. “This is not true.

“There’s no record in the annals of the State Government that suggests that fresh borrowing was undertaken; since inception till date; both domestic debt and foreign debt.”

“We challenge any person, including the DMO, who has evidence of any fresh loan taken under the administration of Governor Bassey Otu to make that Public,” the Governor’s Spokesman said.

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He noted that fresh loans take processes including seeking legislative approvals, saying “The governor has not signed nor taken in a fresh loan on behalf of the state.”

He quoted the Governor also as saying, “Anyone in doubt of our position can make findings with the state legislature and even to the DMO. I have taken up the matter with the DMO and they have denied knowledge of any fresh loan under the current administration”.

The Chief Press Secretary said Governor Otu frowns at the manner the figures were posted by the DMO as a fresh debt profile of the State Government, which has caused confusion in the minds of well-meaning citizens and lovers of our State.

Adding, “It is also pertinent that the media and the general public understands that the dynamics of DMO debt profile spreadsheets includes the principal amount plus interest over time as well as other variables that may have been made available to DMO; such as judgment debts, contract debts, garnish orders, etc. In this case, Cross River State Government vehemently rebukes any interest calculation and any surreptitious calculation that portrays the government to have increased her domestic debt profile by N16.2 billion from June 2023 to December 2023. And the Foreign debt by $57.9million within the same period.

“We would like to reiterate that, Senator Bassey Edet Otu’s “People First” administration has promised the good people of Cross River State a very financially responsible leadership and will not borrow except for very critical and fiscally responsible reasons in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007.

“Moreso, the Governor has directed the Commissioner for Finance in the state to take up the DMO on the figures and ensure clear explanations are given on the published figures that are untrue and unacceptable.”

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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