Cross River assembly kicks as state government shops for fresh N35b loan

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••• Deputy gov seeks end to violence against women

TRACKING_____The Cross River State House of Assembly has again expressed reservations, as the state government shops for N35b loan from three commercial banks in the state for the second time in three weeks.

Request for the loans are coming in spite of the state’s N146b debt profile and ranking second to the last in the federal revenue allocation, plus N1.8b compulsory monthly deduction at source for debt servicing.

Secretary to the State Government, Tina Agbor, had in a letter dated January 14, 2020 to the House of Assembly said, “In line with the desire to make Cross River State an industrialised state, government has approached the United Bank for Africa (UBA) for N15b for developmental and allied projects.”

She added that the facility was offered for 120-month tenor at an interest rate of 15 per cent per annum.
On Tuesday the Assembly had received a fresh loan request for N10b each from First Bank and Zenith Bank for the development of the state.

Again after a heated debate, the lawmakers, again, committed the governor’s request for approval to its Committee on Finance and Appropriation for scrutiny.

A statement issued by the Information Officer of the Assembly, Mrs. Itam Ofor, said the House deliberated on the requests in two letters from Agbor on February 12, 2020 during plenary.

The statement revealed that members who commended the governor’s industrialisation drive, however, observed that there was the need for the House to be furnished with more details including the type of projects being considered, their cost, location and the total facilities already accepted by the state government.

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor of the state, Professor Ivara Esu, has advocated an end to abuse and violence against women in the country.

He stated this when members of the Spotlight Initiative Team to eliminate violence against women and the girl child in Nigeria visited him at Government House, Calabar yesterday.

He described the Spotlight Initiative’s move as a wake up call for men who still abuse their wives, daughters and sisters to end the act immediately.

A statement from the Deputy Governor’s office said Esu was delighted that of eight African countries, Nigeria was chosen to carry out Spotlight Initiative and Cross River State was also chosen among five states to pioneer its activities.

On his part, Team Lead and Programme Director, Head Office, Calabar, Kenneth Ihouzu, said the Spotlight Initiative was a Global Partnership between the United Nations and the European Union (EU) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in support of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.

He disclosed that Nigeria has been selected as one of the priority countries for Africa, together with Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Mali, with focus on eliminating sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices and addressing sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Speaking, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Dr. Inyang Asibong, said the Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria was currently being implemented in five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while in Cross River it was lunched in July 2019 with the focus to eliminate violence against women and girls.

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