The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been urged not to give any fresh loan to the Gombe State Government in order to avoid burying the state under a mountain of debt from alleged frivolous borrowings by the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
In a statement on Friday signed by Mohammed Salisu Abdullahi on behalf of the Gombe Good Leadership Association, an umbrella body of stakeholders in the state, the group called on the apex bank to resist any pressure from Governor Yahaya to grant any new loan request.
The statement read, “Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has plunged Gombe State into a quagmire of crippling debts. Nothing is more reckless than borrowing money to repay a debt or cope with the crushing effect of existing debts.
“The public will recall that we have recently made a press release concerning the spate of reckless borrowing by the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya-led administration of Gombe State. Just when we thought we had seen it all from the governor, a copy of the letter by the governor to the Honourable Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly dated October 20, 2021 with reference number GO/GD/FED-98/V.I proved us wrong.
“In the letter, the governor is requesting for the resolution of the Gombe State House of Assembly allowing him to access the Federal Government’s bridging finance facility in the sum of N18,746,059,992.57 billion.”
It added, “For emphasis, we reiterate that the Muhammadu Inuwa Yaya-led administration of Gombe State has between March 2020 and July 2021 procured the following debts: N14.5bn from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; N2bn to finance healthcare infrastructure development in Gombe State; N12bn credit facility from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; N10.8bn from United Bank for Africa Plc, and N5bn from Family Homes Funds for the provision of one thousand units of affordable housing units.
“The above-listed debts do not include the N11bn borrowed by the previous administration for the Gombe Revenue Optimisation Company Limited but received by the present government. This N11bn brings the total amount of money obtained as debt by the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya-led administration within a space of a little over two years to N55.3bn.
“If the governor is allowed to obtain the N35bn debt that has been hurriedly approved by the Gombe State House of Assembly on October 13, 2021 and the proposed debt of N18,746,059,992.57bn for which it is seeking approval in his latest letter to the Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, the governor would have succeeded in amassing a total debt of over N109bn in a little over of two years of his administration.
“There is no gainsaying that the debt service to the overall revenue of Gombe State is excessive and inimical to the economic and developmental aspirations of the state.
"From the governor’s showing, the revenue of the state cannot even take care of the recurrent and debt servicing portfolio of the state.
"The Federal Government has been indulging state governors and pressuring the Central Bank to lend monies (it doesn’t have) to governors under all sorts of dubious projects and schemes.
"We, therefore, call on the Central Bank to resist any temptation to further advance any loan to the borrowing governor of Gombe State who is hell-bent on mortgaging the state to satisfy his selfish ends.”