Yakubu Busari, Jos
Governor Simon Lalong
Plateau State government has said that it has been able to reduce the debt it met by over 50 per cent within two years of Governor Simon Bako Lalong government.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Yakubu Dati, in a statement also denied that the state procured a loan of $2 billion.
Dati, who was reacting to the recent allegations by the Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung that the state was revelling in profligacy, said that out of the Plateau State debt profile of N220 billion, which it inherited, it has settled N122 billion.
The statement said in part, “The records are available at the Debt Management Office for confirmation. The bandied figure of N1 trillion is tales by moonlight.
“On the matter of the loan. It is still being processed and not released. This can easily be confirmed on the bank’s website as attached. The amount secured by the Federal Ministry of Finance is 11 million dollars and not 2 billion dollars being bandied. The facility was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of Wednesday, July 26 2017.
“The loan was secured from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the development of the Irish potato value chain, and the project is expected to create 60,000 jobs.
“Plateau State would be providing N599 million as counterpart funding for the project.
The loan has a five years moratorium thereafter whatever remained of the loan would be paid at the rate of 1 per cent in 20 years.
“The loan would be used to develop the Irish potatoes value chain in 17 local local government areas of the state.
Arguing that the the implementation of the project would be jointly executed by FADAMA project and a unit in the state Ministry of Agriculture with about 70 percent of the loan used for the provision of infrastructure, extension services, improved planting and marketing, Dati added that,
“The whole exercise is aimed at boosting production and minimising wastage in Plateau State which is the largest producer of Irish potatoes. The rescue administration remains focused on delivering on its mandate.”