N25bn loan: Delta Govt assisting farmers boost production – Aniagwu replies Opposition

Delta State Government has defended it’s action in approaching the state’s House of Assembly to approve it’s request for a credit facility of N25 billion for oil palm production initiative.

Charles Aniagwu, the state commissioner for information, on Monday, told journalists in Asaba, that it was the state government’s way of intervening to ensure farmers in the state get funds to boost their oil palm production.

Aniagwu was responding to the question directed at him as to why the state government continues to take loans that plunge the state into huge debt.

The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and other critics of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration have never rested in tackling the governor in the recent times for what they described as the governor’s penchant for taking loans which they believed have piled up huge debts for the incoming administration in the state.

They have been accusing the governor of borrowing to fund his political ambition under the guise of funding state projects and funding farmers.

The Sherrif Oborevwori-led legislature on Tuesday last week, approved the N25 billion credit facility less than two months it approved the governor’s request for N150 billion bridging finance facility.

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Okowa had told the legislaors that the credit facility of N25 billion to be taken at the First City Monument Bank Plc would go for the development of 17,345.5 hectares of palm plantation as it is designed to take advantage of Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) oil palm development initiative.

In defence of his boss, Aniagwu told newsmen that APC.lacked knowledge of governance, adding that the CBN has assisted a number of persons across sectors.

“The role of the state government is to guarantee the farmers and to assure the CBN that the farmers are credible enough to pay back at the appropriate time.

“To ensure that the individuals the funds would be given to will be able to use it judiciously for the CBN to get back its funds.

“Delta State Government being a responsible government decided to guarantee our farmers so that the CBN can make the funds available for the farmers to increase their yield.

“How does that become a wrong decision of government? The fund is coming from CBN, they only need the state to have a buy-in to agree that once the money gets to the farmers it would be used for the purpose it was meant for.

“Is the APC in Delta expecting that we will keep quiet because they don’t understand governance and allow the funds to go to other states and farmers in those states would be making progress and ours will have to fold their hands?

On the N150bn bridging finance, the Information Commissioner said the state government was yet to access the facility because Federal government was yet to commence the process of repatriation of the funds.

He urged the opposition to stop talking about the N150 billion in isolation and also be concerned about the projects the funds were earmarked for, adding that “until the refunds starts coming in, we will not proceed to approach

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