Lagos, Kaduna and Edo, with a combined foreign debt profile of $1.84bn, are the most indebted states of the federation as far as subnational foreign debts are concerned, investigation has revealed.
Statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office in Abuja on Wednesday showed that the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory owe $3.65bn in foreign debts as against the $7.61bn owed by the Federal Government as of June 30, 2016; bringing the country’s total foreign debt to $11.26bn.
Lagos, which has the biggest economy in the country, retained its topmost position as the most indebted state of the federation with a total of $1.43bn in foreign debts. Thus, the state holds 39.17 per cent of the country’s total subnational foreign debts.
Kaduna State, with total foreign debt of $225.28m, comes in the second position. It holds 6.16 per cent of the sub-national foreign debts.
Edo State, with a total of $179.52m as of June 30, holds 4.91 per cent of the country’s subnational foreign debts.
The highest owing states in the sub-national foreign debts include Cross River, $141.47m or 3.87 per cent; and Ogun, $103.55m or 2.83 per cent.
Others are Bauchi, with $97.23m or 2.66 per cent; Osun, $78.93m or 2.16 per cent; Adamawa, $77.14m or 2.11 per cent; Enugu, $74.46m or 2.04 per cent; Katsina, $68.99m or 1.89 per cent; and Oyo, $67.56m or 1.85 per cent.
Some of the least indebted states of the federation are Borno, $21.89m; Taraba, $23.01m; Plateau, $29.24m; Yobe, $29.28m; Jigawa, $32.62m; Kogi, $33.56m; Benue, $34.26; FCT, $34.8m; Zamfara, $35.07m; and Delta, $42.21m.
Our correspondent reported that the 36 states of the federation and the FCT grew their external debts by $1.37bn in five years.
The external indebtedness of the sub-national governments as of December 31, 2010 stood at $2bn. However, by December 2015, it had risen to $3.3bn.
This shows that the sub-national governments grew their external debts by 68.44 per cent within the five-year period.
Some states, over the period, maintained their top positions in the borrowers’ club, while others jumped onto the list in the period.
With an external debt of $41.19m in 2010, Edo State, for instance, was not among the most indebted states in the country.
However, by the end of December 2015, the state’s external debt profile had leapt to $168.19m, showing a difference of $127m. This means that the state’s external debt rose by 308.34 per cent in five years.
N17.2bn Debt: NERFUND To Drag Defaulters To EFCC
The management of the National Economic Reconstruction Fund on Wednesday said it would engage the services of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the recovery of its non-performing loans, which are estimated at about N17.2bn.
Some 1,143 projects in the Small and Medium Enterprises sector were financed with the loans between 2010 and 2013.
The Acting Managing Director, NERFUND, Dr. Ezekiel Oseni, disclosed the plan to engage the EFCC in the loan recovery efforts in Abuja on the sidelines of a meeting with a delegation from the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association led by its Secretary-General, Mr. Saleh Gashua.
Until Oseni’s appointment last month, NERFUND, which was set up to provide medium to long-term financing to Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, had been engulfed in crisis, which prompted the Federal Government to shut it down.
But speaking on the loan recovery efforts, Oseni said the bank had embarked on an aggressive drive.
According to him, some of the strategies include identifying and engaging the various customers to work out repayment options and sale of the assets of those whose projects are on ground but are unable to pay back.
The NERFUND boss also stated that as part of the moves to encourage repayment, the agency was ready to grant concession on the interests on the loans to certain category of customers.
Oseni said, “Many of the loans that constitute the N17.2bn have been hanging for more than 10 years. What we are doing presently is to get the customers to repay. We have reached out to some of them. This one month that I have resumed, a lot of them have been coming in to make some payment to us. I expect the rate of recovery to be higher than what we are experiencing right now.
“What we are planning to do is to give them a little more time to enable them to respond.”