THE Rivers State Government on Monday said it was not indebted to any bank in Nigeria.
The state government was reacting to media reports that Lagos, Delta, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom were states currently topping domestic debt list with N1.18tn.
But the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, who made this remark while speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, described the Debt Management Office’s position as another attempt at maligning the integrity of the current administration in the state.
Nsirim maintained that the state government had been frugal in its management of state resources, adding that the statistics were incorrect and a ploy to de-market Rivers State.
Putting Rivers monthly internally generated revenue at N8 billion, he added that the state had never resorted to reckless borrowing that would make her run into debts.
He said, “That with a healthy monthly internally Generated Revenue profile of at least N8 billion, the State does not resort to reckless borrowing that will make her run into debts.
“That as a matter of deliberate policy, the present administration in Rivers State, desirous to leave behind a worthy legacy, does not embark on a white elephant project that will require bogus financial obligations.”
He explained that Rivers State Government operated accounts with only Zenith and Access Banks and that it had repaid all loans obtained.
“The State Government inherited a commercial bank loan of N15,845,118,108.44 in 2015, which had been liquidated.
“The issues of debts owed to contractors, pension arrears, etc, which the Debt Management Office used to stigmatise the state are recurrent and capital expenditures, which payments are ongoing.
“The Federal Government’s intervention loan approved for every state of the federation has a repayment plan that is spread over many years. Rivers State Government has not defaulted on the repayment plan.
“The Wike administration has been prudent in the management of scarce state resources backed by healthy monthly internally generated revenue.
“Unlike previous administrations that left behind huge debt profiles, the present administration will not mortgage the future of the state in any way,” Nsirim said.
He added that all loans taken by the current administration for infrastructural development of the state from Zenith and Access Banks had been cleared.