Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has dismissed rumours that the state owes N600billion debt.
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo, Governor Akpabio said although the state borrowed over N80 billion due to the dwindling economic fortunes, it had since paid up to N30billion, with a possibility that the debt will be reduced to less than N45billion in the next two months.
According to him, the signing into law of the Freedom of Information Bill by President Goodluck Jonathan, those who genuinely need information about the State’s finances can easily approach the state Ministry of Finance for details rather than being caught in the web of lies on the social media, which is a product of bad politics.
“When we realized that the economy was going down in 2013, we decided to go for the first loan, and all we have borrowed as a state amounts to N80billion. So far we have paid back over 30billion”, he said.
He further said, “I have not collected any loan without the approval of the state House of Assembly, because you must convince the lawmakers on why you need to collect the loan and of course show them the capability to pay back, and the banks cannot give you the facility when they are not sure that you can pay back.”
Governor Akpabio said all these were achieved even when the State’s allocation which was over N15billion before he assumed office in 2007, had since dropped to N12billion, a difficult trend considering the State’s salary wage bill of N5billion, pensions and outstanding bank debts and a low internally generated revenue profile.