We’ll Complete Repayment Of Sylva’s N50bn Bond -Dickson

Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, being received by the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Kenneth Kobani, during the PDP South-East Senatorial District’s town hall meeting in Bori, recently.

The Bayelsa State Government under Governor Seriake Dickson has restated its commitment to completing repayment of the N50billion bond facility which was obtained by the administration of former Governor Timipre Sylva.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai reiterated the government’s commitment while briefing newsmen on major resolutions reached at the 105 State Executive Council meeting in Yenagoa last Wednesday.
He, however, did not disclose how much of the N50billion bond had been repaid so far by the government and how much was left.
Sylva took over from former President Goodluck Jonathan as governor of Bayelsa State in 2007 and was sacked from office by a court judgment in January 2012 after he was denied a second term governorship ticket by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In 2013, he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and became the leader of the party in the state.
Recall that the Governor Dickson-led administration had in May 2016 claimed to have expended the sum of N123billion to service debts, including bonds and foreign loans collected by the Sylva administration, from 2012 to May 2016.
But the figure was a contradiction of the government’s earlier claim in August 2015 that it had spent N242billion to pay debts incurred by the Sylva administration.
Dickson, at the time, disclosed that he inherited a massive debt profile of N332 billion from the Sylva administration when he assumed office as governor in February 2012.
He said that his government had paid N242billion to service the debts and that about N90billion was the balance payment. According to the government, the total value of the bond was N104 billion and was expected to be paid off in June 2017.
Nevertheless, the Commissioner for Finance told reporters that the Dickson administration had been committed in the repayment of the loan in order to take off the huge burden it had placed on Bayelsa.
Ebibai also said that the State Executive Council also reviewed the funding options before it for some of its key projects and the challenges of completing such projects.
He explained that to achieve its target, the government had expanded the Contractor Infrastructure Finance Development Scheme (CIFDS), which would give contractors access to funds directly from banks based on milestones.
Ebibai further explained that with the scheme, contractors could approach banks to secure the loan and execute their projects while the state government will act as a guarantor and ensure that the loans are repaid based on the job done.
He said, “It is a sort of a Public Private Partnership (PPP). It involves the government, the contractors and the banks. We are not borrowing, but the contractors.
“We will only guarantee payment based on the job done. By this, we are sure to complete some of our key projects.”
Ebibai stated that the present administration was determined to start the sand filling of the Nembe/Brass Road in Bayelsa East Senatorial District with an eye for the completion of the Sagbama/Ekeremor Road in Bayelsa East and Yenagoa/Oporoma Road in Bayelsa Central, and other projects.