Bayelsa State House of Assembly, on Thursday, approved the decision of the state Executive Council (Exco) to restructure an existing N40bn loan to release funds required to complete some projects in the state.
It was gathered that the Speaker of the House, Mr. Kombowei Benson, led other lawmakers to grant express approval to the request in line with the decision reached by the Exco on Wednesday.
Investigations revealed that the restructured loan was initially taken for the cargo airport project at Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the loan reordering affected mainly the existing repayment pattern and initially-agreed duration for the loan.
It was learnt that the new arrangement would reduce the loan repayment to about N1bn monthly instead of the about N2.5bn monthly deduction and extend the duration from two to four years.
The government was said to have intended to use the monthly balance of about N1.5bn to finance the completion of other capital projects in the state.
It was learnt that based on the calculation of the financial team of Governor Seriake Dickson, injecting the freed fund would facilitate the completion of the ongoing projects across the three senatorial zones in the state such as the Sagbama/Ekeremor road, Isaac Boro road with street lights and Bayelsa International Airport.
Others are the Senate building inside the Niger Delta University (NDU), internal roads especially in Ogbia local government, the bridge leading to the Tourist Island, among others.
The government was said to have ordered the bank to carry out monthly disbursement of the freed funds to contractors after verifying their job certificates.
Confirming the development, the State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor explained that the restructured loan was not fresh as being speculated in some quarters.
He said the move was designed to restructure already-existing loan from two to four years period by adjusting it repayment pattern.
He said: “We are restructuring our existing loans. We took a loan for the airport so instead of paying the required N2bn to service the loan every month, what we have done is that we have restructured to elongate the time to pay the loan.
“So, instead of paying the loan in two years, we are going to pay it in four years. We are going to be paying about N1bn every month. The additional money will be used to give to our contractors.
“We don’t want to handle the freed money ourselves because we will still spend it within the government system. So, we are giving the money to a particular bank to distribute the money monthly among our contractors.
“Our contractors will be collecting the money from the banks themselves. The bank will hold back N1.5bn and use it to give to our contractors monthly.
Ewhrudjakpor asked Bayelsans to disregard the falsehood being circulated by mischief-makers aimed at discrediting the government and bringing total disaffection between it and the people.