The Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Finance- Mr. Akan Okon has cleared the air on the amount owed by the state Government, and how the debt is converted to bonds for easy servicing and to avail for funds to be invested in capital intensive developmental projects in the state.

He made the clarification today, Monday 24th August to The Gazette at the conference room of the State Ministry of Finance, where the Commissioner confirmed to be true the amount the state is owing, and the recent development being the conversion to bonds, for ease of payment to the Federal Government over a longer period of time.

The Finance boss, in company of the Honourable Commissioner for Information & Communication- Deacon Aniekan Umanah dissected all issues relating to the states finances, debt management and funding for capital projects. Also present at the briefing were Mrs Eme Imoku, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and other key officers.

The press briefing was to intimate journalists on the facts and figures, especially owing to the rise of oil price globally, which has a resultant effect on loans and interest rates.
Mr. Okon stressed the need to covert the commercial bank loan to bonds, to be paid as approved by the Debt Management Office. The bond will enable the state to pay a token N300 million monthly over a long term, compared to N3.5 Billion initially stipulated. On the issue of ‘Single Revenue Account’ which recently raised dust, he explained that the revenue account is not meant for one bank only, instead, all  banks involved in strategic revenue collection for the state are expected to open a single account captured by the pay-direct system, for sake of planning and accountability.

To buttress the points, the Info boss appreciated the Finance boss for the initiative, and his understanding of the role of the media as a vehicle to communicate government ideas and plans. He added that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s 5 point agenda needs funding, hence initiatives like this require understanding and applaud.

Source: The Gazette

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