Change in Lagos State Governor, 11 others drive N2.1trn debt burden

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A total of 12 states where there was a change of government recently are reeling under heavy debt burden amounting to over N2trillion, official data by Debt Management Office (DMO) has shown.

Analysis of official data from the DMO, revealed that the debt increased under the immediate past governments in the states.

However, some of the debts were not captured in the DMO and NBS official data, suggesting the figure may be more.

For instance, the DMO data did not include debts incurred using local contractors, suppliers, and consultants. DMO data only covered debts incurred by states through official borrowings such as multilateral and bilateral foreign and local financial institutions, investment securities like bonds and treasury bills.

These debts rose despite a series of billions channeled to the states by the federal government as federal allocations (FAAC), bailouts, Paris fund refunds, among others. Former governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), and nine others increased their states’ domestic debt stock by over 200 per cent from N412.98billion as at when they assumed office to N1.37trillion as at when they left the office.

During the same period, the 12 governors combined increased their states’ external debt stock by 81 per cent from $1.75billion as at the inception of their tenures to $2.16billion as at when they vacated their offices. The 12 states combined also recorded total Internally Generated revenues (IGRs) of N1.14trillion during the period.

The other ex-governors include Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Muhammadu Bindow (Adamawa), Umaru Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) , Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).

The governors borrowing increased their states’ domestic debt stock by over 200 per cent and their foreign debt stock by over 81 percent. While Ambode, Abubakar, and Bindow spent four years in office each, the rest spent eight years, except Gaidam, who spent 10 years. N612billion debt left by Yari, Dankwambo, Ajimobi, Bindow For instance, four former governors Yari, Dakwambo, Bindow, Abubakar, and Ajimobi have left behind over N612billion debts, according to reports of transition committees.

The Zamfara State transition committee said Yari has left behind a debt of N251billion – an amount he denied without giving the actual figures he left. Dankwabo left behind debts of N110billion, while Bindow and Abubakar left N115billion and N136billion respectively. Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde announced last week that his predecessor, Ajimobi had left behind over N150billion debt.

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