Lagos yesterday retained its position as the state with the highest foreign debt in the country, with a liability put at $1.45 billion as at June 30, 2018.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted a Debt Management Office (DMO) document titled: ‘States, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Federal Governments’ External Debt Stock as at June 30, 2018,’ as also detailing other states’ external debts in Abuja.
The document stated that the external debt stock of the entire nation stood at $22 billion, with the Federal Government incurring $17.8 billion dollars while the states and the FCT owed $4.28 billion. By implication, the Federal Government accounts for 81 per cent of the country’s external debts while the states and the FCT are responsible for the rest 19 per cent.
NAN recalls that as at December 31, 2017, Lagos State also had the highest foreign debt portfolio of $1.47 billion, but the figure reduced to $1.45 billion by June this year. Following Lagos in a distant second is Edo, which incurred $279 million.Others are Kaduna, $232.9 million dollars; Cross River, $193.7 million; Bauchi, $134.9 million and Enugu, $127.9 million.
According to the DMO, other top debtors are Anambra ($107.4 million); Oyo, $106.34 million; Ogun, $105.3 million; Osun, $101.5 million and Abia with $100.2 million.Following closely are Ekiti with $97.9 million; Ondo’s $81.4 million; Rivers, $79.5 million. Others included Ebonyi, $67.9 million; Kano, $65 million; Katsina, $64.7 million, and $Delta’s 63.8 million.
The statement also revealed that Imo incurred $61.2 million; Nasarawa, $61.4 million; Adamawa, $57.8 million; Niger, $55.7 million, and Bayelsa with $57.2 million.The rest are Akwa Ibom with $48.3 million; Kebbi, $46.7 million; Kwara, $49.8 million, and Sokoto, $40.2 million.States with the lowest debt portfolio include Taraba, with $22.1 million; Borno, $22.2 million; Yobe, $28.4 million, and Plateau, $29.6 million.
Others are Kogi with $32.37 million; Jigawa, $32.80 million; FCT, $32.83 million; Zamfara, $34.2 million; Benue, $34.7 million and Gombe, $38.5 million.DMO’s Director-General, Patience Oniha, had at a media conference, said the nation’s public debt stock increased marginally by 3.01 per cent since December last year.
According to the figures for June 30, the ratio between domestic and external debt stood at 70 to 30 compared to 73 to 27 in December. Oniha said the ratio of 60 to 40 was important to ensure that the nation was not 100 per cent indebted externally, adding that it was also easier to raise money domestically.She disclosed that the Federal Government had been borrowing from the external debt market to refinance maturing local debts because of the lower interest rates obtainable from foreign sources.