Rivers State gets approval to access N15 billion CBN loan

Rivers State Executive Council has approved access to N15bilion facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Infrastructure Fund to facilitate the completion of three critical projects initiated by Governor Nyesom Wike.

Projects to be funded with the facility are the Oyigbo-Okoloma Road, Chokocho-Igbodo Road and the 10th flyover at Rumuokwurushi-Elimgbu.

Speaking to newsmen at the Government House, Port Harcourt after the Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner for Finance, Isaac Kamalu said the State government felt that one way it could fast track the completion of these projects will be to access the CBN Infrastructure Fund, considering that the facility has a very low interest rate of 5 percent.

He said, “Council in her deliberations at the Executive Council meeting today (Wednesday) approved that the Rivers State Government should access the Central Bank of Nigeria Infrastructure Support Facility to the tune of N15billion.

“This will be utilised as further support for the critical infrastructure that the State is embarking and presently prosecuting, which are the Chokocho-Igbodo Road in Etche Local Government; the Oyigbo-Okoloma Road in Oyigbo Local Government Area and the Rumuokwurushi -Elimgbu flyover.

“You will recall that prior to now, the Rivers State Government had accessed funds for these projects. However, these funds even if put together will not be able to accomplish these three critical projects mentioned. And so, government felt that one way it could fast track the completion of these projects will be to participate in this Central Bank Infrastructure Facility, considering that the facility has a very low interest rate of 5 percent, repayable within 20 years with three years moratorium.”

Kamalu expressed optimism that the N15 billion facility will be very good support to ensure that these projects are delivered on time and serve the interest of the State.

The Council also took the decision to recover dilapidated government quarters from civil servants and illegal occupants within Old and New Government Residential Area (GRA), Port Harcourt and reallocate them to competent private individuals.

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, explained that the Council took this decision because some of these properties were fraudulently acquired by retired civil servants through dubious processes of allocation and sale.

According to him, some of these government properties also fell into utter deterioration due to the abject neglect and lack of maintenance by the occupants.

“The properties were totally in uninhabitable condition and were converted into commercial and business uses; in some cases, they were sublet to private tenants, as well as the use of the premises for poultries, fish ponds, barbing saloons, and other unauthorized uses.

“The Task Force set up by the Rivers State Government to look into this matter found out that some of these properties were found to be under illegal occupants by non-civil servants, some of whom are non-indigenes.

“This has therefore necessitated the recovery of these properties as part of government’s urban renewal programme, with the civil servant – occupants being reallocated to alternative private properties through financial support provided by the State government.”

Nsirim said the recovery of these properties and their subsequent reallocation will form part of the first phase of the ongoing urban renewal programme of the Rivers State Government within the Old and New GRA, Port Harcourt.

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