Minister Tackles Group Over Bayelsa Debt Profile
Minister Tackles Group Over Bayelsa Debt Profile – Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has described attempts by a group to challenge his observation on the debt profile of Bayelsa State as laughable and pitiable.
In a statement signed by his media aide, George Orji, the minister said “the hurriedly recruited faceless organization by Governor Seriake Dickson” should ask the governor to explain to Bayelsans what he used the funds he borrowed for.
Bayelsa Professional Association (BPA) had in a statement signed by its general secretary, Jasper Timiebi, queried the minister’s figure of N800 billion (domestic) and $216 million (foreign) debt by the state government.
But Lokpobiri said yesterday that he was glad that the governor had not denied collecting over N1.2 trillion from the Federation Account from 2012 to 2017.
The minister also said the governor did not deny that his administration was yet to account for the billions of naira from the Federation Account meant for the councils in the state, as well as the billions of naira from internally-generated revenue.
He noted that the governor had publicly admitted paying workers’ outstanding salaries from the N24.16 billion the state just received from the Paris Club debt refund.
He was, however, worried that it took the receipt of the Paris Club refund for the governor to meet the state’s financial obligations to its workers.
Lokpobiri challenged the governor to publish the state’s monthly wage bill and explain why it became difficult for a state with the least number of workers to meet its wage obligations.
He reiterated that the state accumulated N800 billion (domestic) and $216 million (foreign) debt without anything tangible to show for it.