Rivers Assembly okays restructuring of govt loans into bonds



THE Rivers State House of Assembly has approved the restructuring of all commercial bank loans accessed by the state government to Federal Government bonds.

This approval followed a request sent to the House by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, through the Speaker, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, who after reading the letter to members yesterday, said that the Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO) has instructed all state governments to restructure their commercial bank loans to bonds.

The Speaker stated that the benefits accruing from the restructuring include longer repayment period spanning between 15 to 20 years, reduction in debt service and interest rates, adding that the government was not taking a new loan.

The letter read in part: “As part of measures to restore fiscal stability to the state governments, the Federal Government has advised states to restructure their commercial loans into Federal Government bonds.

“While we have resolved to take advantage of this opportunity, part of the requirements on part of the state government is to secure a formal authorisation from the state House of Assembly as prescribed in the letter from the Debt Management Office dated July 8, 2015.”
Twenty-three lawmakers voted to approve the request.

Earlier, the House passed the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Bill, 2015 into law. The passage came after a heated debate among members on the report of the ad-hoc committee.

Ruling, the Speaker stated that monarchy is an institution that cannot be tampered with and therefore should not follow political delineation.

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