State Govts Contribute 35% of Nigeria’s Current Debt Profile, Says Policy Analyst

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Federal Government Technical Adviser on post COVID-19 Economic Recovery, Mr. Taiwo Akerele, has declared that most of the development challenges of the country lied with the state government in Nigeria who he said were responsible for 35 percent of the current debt profile of Nigeria and also jointly 30 percent with the federal government.

Akerele, who was also former Chief of Staff to Governor Obaseki of Edo State,  said this in a statement titled: “Stop The Ostrich Game: Governors Can Change The Narrative of Development,” in Benin City.

He also blamed state governors for the deficiencies in the healthcare delivery and road infrastructure, particularly those from opposition political parties.

He said: “I have watched with amazement how state governors, especially those in the opposition, have continuously heaped the blame of under development on the federal government especially in the health and education sectors and in recent times the spiraling debt crisis in the country.

“On the issue of national debt overhang, a governor in one of the south south states was recently quoted to have said that Nigeria’s debt is inching close to N60 trillion (about $134 billion), and concluded that Nigeria has failed already.

“It is not my responsibility as a policy analyst to confirm or contradict the governors’ claims as the Debt Management Office (DMO) and the CBN have such responsibility vested in them.

“However, I had thought that the same governor will go ahead to state in equivocal terms his own state share of the debt overhang and what it has achieved with it for the purpose they were approved for. This was not to be as he again played the ostrich.”

According to him, “statistics from DMO shows very clearly that only 35 per cent of the total federation debts belongs to the federal government, about 35 per cent is owned by the 36 states while the outstanding debt of 30 per cent is jointly owned, especially loans that have to do with immunisation and COVID-19 recovery and budget support instruments.

“If this is the case, on what grounds should a state governor (an opposition at that) squarely place the debt crisis on the foot of the federal government for growing the Nigerian population?”

Akerele added: “I stand to be corrected; however, available data indicates that 70 per cent of the health care needs of Nigerians fall between the purview of primary health care (LGA) and secondary health care (state) while the outstanding 30 per cent is what is referred to as  the tertiary centers such as teaching, and specialist hospitals mostly funded by the federal government of Nigeria.”

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