Mr Eyo Ekpo, the Governorship Candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Cross River, says there is nothing wrong in a state owing debt provided the money is properly invested.
Ekpo said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Calabar while reacting to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics report on Cross River State’s external debt.
He said that proper investment of monies borrowed was key to debt repayment, while creating multiple streams of income for the state.
According to him, a state government can derive income from its investments and taxes, but the Cross River is not managing its debt properly.
“Debt in itself is not the killer, the killer is when you do not manage your debt and when you do not make efforts to repay it.
“I have not heard that the state government is dedicating any part of its revenue however small as it is to repaying debts.
“All l see is that we are taking up more and more liabilities without creating streams which will allow our debts to be repaid,’’ he said.
He said that Gov. Ben Ayade had not extended olive branches to candidates of other political parties in the state nor called him for any meeting although he had offered his manifesto and execution plan to the state government.
“I heard all the nice words from the press, however, no government runs in the media.
“I have already offered to the governor, my manifesto openly and not just the manifesto, but also the execution plan which are the programmes to put in place to get the objectives achieved.
“The document is an extensive research done in 2017 between May and August, it took a whole lot of resources and personnel to put up this document.
“He should look at that document and stop going around saying l want to work with others which l think is just a hype.
“He is the governor, he should have access to the best resources – human and material. He needs people who can think and tell him the truth; the first priority is for us to help keep the state viable,’’ he said.
According to The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Cross River’s external debt is $188.77 million, the fourth largest among the 36 states.
The first three states are Lagos, Edo and Kaduna. The four states owe $ 2.12 billion external debt.