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Delta assembly approves Okowa’s N20 billion loan request



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The Delta State House of Assembly has approved a request by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for a N20 billion facility from Fidelity Bank Plc to finance its five per cent equity in a liquefied natural gas project, the governor says.

Mr Okowa said the request was to finance the state government’s five per cent equity in the UTM offshore Limited Floating Liquified Natural Gas (FLNG) Project.

He said the project is under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) real sector support Find/Differentiated cash reserve requirement window.

Mr Okowa explained that the facility would not only boost employment for the teeming population and enhance local content for Delta, but would also secure future cash flow for the state.

Consequently, the Majority Leader of the Assembly, Ferguson Onwo, moved a motion for the approval of the governor’s request. It was seconded by the member representing Ika North East State Constituency, Anthony Elekeokwuri.

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Meanwhile, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) kicked against the fresh loan on the grounds that Governor Okowa wants to fund his vice presidential ambition and consequently mortgage the future of the unborn generations in the state.

Recall that Fejiro Oliver, whistle blower, recently alerted Delta residents of a move by Okowa to obtain N120bn loan from Premium Trust Bank.

The facility, according to Oliver, would see Premium Trust Bank provide N100 billion while Fidelity Bank would provide the balance of N20 billion, which if approved will balloon the state’s debt profile to over N480bn, a move that has generated reaction amongst critical stakeholders across Delta.

Tilije as well recalled that the state government had earlier received an approval from the House of Assembly to obtain N150 billion bridging finance from the N240 billion accrued refunds to the state on the 13 percent Derivation Policy.

He said that the needed facility was later reduced to N100 billion by the state government after deliberation with finance houses involved in the arrangement.

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