A group, Ebonyi Advocacy For Transparency Initiative has faulted fresh moves by the Ebonyi Government to borrow $150 million for infrastructure development.
The Ebonyi based Civil Society Organisation at a press conference on Tuesday in Abakalik, warned that more borrowings would impoverish the people and could have far reaching negative consequences in the long run.
The group noted that some aggrieved members of the public took the state government to court to stop the move.
The press conference was part of the group‘s activities to mark the 2018 Democracy Day celebration.
The group’s Coordinator, Jude Okpor, who spoke, said that the debt profile of the state as at 2016 stood at N75 billion according to statistics released by the Debt Management Office.
According to the group, the present administration had borrowed a total of N28 billion on domestic loans, while external loans are put at N46 billion.
The group which frowned at the latest move by government to borrow additional $150 million from the Islamic and African Development Banks urged the government to jettison the idea.
The group noted that the government listed the ring-roads project, as one of the projects to be executed with the loan, but warned that, further borrowing would “mortgage the future of the state and its yet unborn generation’’.
It said: “As CSO committed to promoting, propagating and espousing good governance we appeal to the Governor Dave Umahi to jettison the idea in order not to endanger the collective future of our state and its people.”
The group reviewed performances of key sectors of governance in the state in last three years, and bemoaned the neglect of some key sectors by the present administration.
It called for strategic action plan to revamp the education and health sectors to enable the state attain greatness.
It stressed that education is the pillar upon which rests the future and eventual development of the state.
It said: “Primary, secondary and tertiary education have suffered serious neglect and this has resulted to decline in the standard of teaching and learning.
“The two tertiary institutions in the state; the Ebonyi State University and the Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo are grossly underfunded.’’
The group noted with dismay the plight of pensioners and poor remuneration of civil servants and urged the government to improve the welfare and wellbeing of pensioners and workers of the state.
It said: “Pensioners in the state recently embarked on praying and fasting to ask for divine intervention over their plights.
“The gratuities of retirees are paid in piecemeal against established civil service rules.’’
The group said that citizens should engage political leaders by demanding accountability and their stewardship.
The group commended the urban renewal programme of the government and urged it to extend same to rural areas.