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Lagos government’s N40 billion World Bank loan ‘embarrassing’ – PDP

The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party has condemned the recent World Bank approval of a N40 billion loan to the state government.

In a statement issued Sunday in Lagos, the party called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to rescind his decision to obtain the fund pending a check on all previously obtained loans in the state, especially by the last administration.

“The history of loans in the state is very embarrassing and has plunged the state into local and foreign debts running into a Trillion naira,” the PDP said in the statement signed by Taofeek Gani, its Publicity Secretary.

“Why indeed will a state still run after world bank loan when such state realises average of N27 Billion naira as monthly IGR (internally generated revenue). Governor Ambode should have a rethink and get prudent.”

Earlier this month, the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank announced an approval of a US$200 million (almost N40 billion) credit to the Lagos State government to support such reforms as fiscal sustainability, budget planning, budget execution, and improving the investment climate in the state.

According to the bank, the loan would help sustain the state’s economic growth and poverty reduction as well as enable it continue its social services delivery to its teeming population.

But the PDP demanded a detailed and public defence of the loan to justify its necessity.

“Again we reiterate that this Ambode administration will not be different from the two previous administrations in the areas of amassing unwarranted loans and fighting corruption in the state,” Mr. Gani said.

“Governor Ambode does not have the will and cannot exert his authority to fight corruption in this state, otherwise all a governor should do in Lagos state is to block the leakages; and the monthly IGR now standing at N27 Billion will definitely shove up. But alas! This governor is jittery to fight corruption and block the financial leakages because the state’s tax consultant firm, Alpha Beta, is believed to the company of the governor’s god father.

“Until the services and activities of the firm in the state are probed, Lagosians will continue to hear huge figures of loans in spite huge IGR.”

The PDP also condemned Mr. Ambode’s decision to scrap the state’s Finance and Administration Department and rename it Administration and Human Resources Department.

“It is also laughable that rather than probe the finance and administration of the state, the governor has decided to be diversionary by merely renaming the ministry,” the party said.

“We ask to know whether this is also deliberate to cover up the numerous alleged fraud, mismanagement and embezzlement going on in the state since 1999. It is our strong belief that Governor Ambode is too weak to fight corruption in the state.”

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