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Otu Challenges DMO Over Borrowing, Says Administration Not Indebted to N16.2bn Fresh Domestic Loan

Governor Bassey Otu OF Cross River has has challenged the Debt Management Office (DMO) over borrowing, saying his administration has not collected any fresh loan both domestic and foreign, since May 29, 2023.

The Governor's reaction is coming after some nation national dailies had reported that the state borrowed fresh loans as officially posted on the Debt Management Office (DMO) website.

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Nsa Gill, Governor Otu wondered how the Debt Management Office arrived at N220.2billion as the domestic debt profile of Cross River state as at December 2023, up from N204.04billion posted for the state as of June 30, 2023.

He said: "The difference after subtracting N204billion from N220.2billion is the purported N16.2billion reported as a fresh domestic loan allegedly obtained by Otu's administration. It is not true.

"There's no record in the annals of the state government suggesting that fresh borrowing was undertaken from the inception of the present administration both domestic and foreign debt.

"We challenge any person, including the DMO, who has evidence of any fresh loan taken under the administration of Otu, to make that public," the Governor's spokesman said.

He noted that fresh loans take processes including seeking legislative approvals, adding that "the governor has neither signed nor taken fresh loan on behalf of the state."

He quoted the Governor also as saying, "Anyone in doubt of our position can make findings with the state legislature and even to the DMO.

I have taken up the matter with the DMO and they have denied knowledge of any fresh loan under the current administration".

The Chief Press Secretary said Governor Otu frowns at misinformation of any sort, adding "it is also pertinent that the media and the general public understand that the dynamics of DMO debt profile spreadsheets includes the principal amount plus interest over time as well as other variables that may have been made available to the DMO."

Such variables include judgment debts, contract debts and garnishee orders which which should not be added to the state government vehemently rebukes any interest calculation or any surreptitious calculation that portrays the government to have increased her domestic debt profile by borrowing N16.2billion within June 2023 to December 2023.

He also refuted that the current governemnt took foreign debt amounting to $57.9million within the same period.

By Missang Akpet, The Beagle News