In a bid to benefit from the 2019/2020 projects of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the Ekiti State government has approved the borrowing of a sum of N3 billion as a counterpart fund.
The approval for the term loan was given at the virtual meeting of the State Executive Council held in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Muyiwa Olumilua, said the loan is to enable Ekiti State Government meet up with its statutory 50% counterpart obligation towards the release of funds for UBEC/State Universal Basic Education Board( SUBEB) projects for the year 2019 and 2020.
Olumilua said the fiscal step became imperative on the premise that failure to pay the counterpart fund would disqualify the State from receiving her share of the UBEC/State Universal Basic Education funding.
The statement said: “Memorandum on the offer of N3,031,076,059.82 term loan for 2019 and 2020 Ekiti State Government counterpart contribution for SUBEB/UBEC projects.
“Being a Federal and State Government partnership, both tiers of government are required to come up with their respective 50% contributions before the total sum is released to the State Government.
“It should be recalled that Governor Kayode Fayemi has substantially defrayed the outstanding counterpart funds for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 UBEC/SUBEB projects, which was initially neglected by the previous administration and the repayment is still ongoing”.
Olumilua added that Governor Fayemi has constituted three separate monitoring units, tasked with the assignment of carrying out an infrastructure audit in the Education sector, to determine the precise needs of the various schools.
The commissioner stated that the mandate of bodies include monitoring of execution of all SUBEB projects in the State to ensure that all contract awards follow due process and are duly executed.
Olumilua added that Fayemi also tendered the memorandum for the amendment of the Ekiti State Debt Management Law 2020 at the council, to enable the state to establish State Debt Management Office (SDMO).
“Ekiti State Government in 2011, put in place the law titled “Regulation to provide for the Establishment of the State Debt Management Office, and connected purposes.
Olumilua said the Council also approved the amendment of section 34(1) (b) of the Ekiti State Fiscal Responsibility Law (No 12) of 2019 as advised by the Ministry of Justice.
“Section 34(1) (b) was amended to read: The State Government shall ensure that the level of public or internal debt as a portion of the state income is held at a sustainable level, as prescribed by the House of Assembly, from time to time, on the advice of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission”.
The Commissioner stated that the amendment will be forwarded to the Ekiti State House of Assembly for legislative processing, and subsequent passage into law.