APC to Bayelsa Govt: Borrowing to fund N80bn airport senseless
The All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State on Thursday said that borrowing by the State Government to fund the N80bn International Cargo Airport in the state did not make economic sense.
The party criticised the project in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo in Yenagoa.
According the party, borrowing from the money market at the current interest rate was not sustainable but a ploy to siphon public funds.
It said the huge interests paid on the loan would stifle the state in the next eight years, adding that the project lacked vital inter-modal network for easy accessibility.
APC alleged that the N80bn project was executed at inflated costs, making it “clearly the most expensive airport project in Nigeria.”
According to the party, the project has taken a heavy toll on the welfare of civil servants and the infrastructural needs of the state.
“We know it as a matter of fact that state governments that built airports in the past are unable to sustain them and want the Federal Government to take them over.
“No self-respecting, patriotic and honest Nigerian should be associated with this kind of project.
“Governor Henry Seriake Dickson collected a N40bn credit facility from a commercial bank to commence work on the project.
“As against the initial estimated cost of N40bn, the Bayelsa State governor himself disclosed in Amassoma, on 26th May, 2018 that N80bn had already been spent on the project.
“Add the loan interest of N32bn to the new figure, and the cost comes to N112bn,” the party said.
Reacting, Bayelsa Commissioner for Information, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the past administration in the state failed to give the people a desperately needed international airport between 2007 and 2011.
Iworiso-Markson said that the Timipriye Sylva-led administration failed to build an airport in spite of the huge resources at the disposal of his administration.
According to him, past administrations used what should have been a laudable idea of an airport project to milk the state and siphoned billions of naira into private pockets.
The commissioner challenged the APC to tell Bayelsa people and Nigerians what the former governor did with N300bn agricultural loan the state took from the World Bank.
According to him, the past administration frittered away N3bn Millennium Development Goals funds made available to the state and foisted a bond obligation of N125bn on the state.