A civic technology organisation, Budgit Nigeria, has expressed its concerns over the increasing debt profile of states in the country.
The organisation also said that states should desist from depending solely on external loans.
BudgIT’s Lead Partner, Oluseun Onigbinde, who spoke during the launch of the organisation’s state of state report in Abuja on Thursday, said state governments need to invest more to avoid further debts and reduce the increasing rate of debt profile in states.
He said, “Total debt stock of Nigerian states has increased significantly from the 2012 level of N1.79 trillion to N2.12 trillion in 2014.
“The debts rose from N3.03 trillion in 2015 to 3.89 trillion in 2016, with Lagos State having 24.2 per cent of the total debt stock of state governments,” he said.
Mr. Onigbinde noted that most states resort to more debt uptake because of the increased inability to meet recurrent expenditure obligations and increased pressure.
While calling on state governments to increase their Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR), he said most states lack the foresight to increase their revenues.
He, therefore, urged all state governments to take advantage of value added tax revenue, manufacturing, trade, logistics and tourism to generate more funds.
He added that state governments need to tremendously embrace a high level of transparency and accountability, develop workable economic plans, expand their internally generated revenue base and cut down on debt accumulation without a concrete repayment plan.
In her presentation, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, NIPC, Yewande Sadiku, said all states are competing for investment from the federal government, forgetting that what the government gets is insufficient for Nigeria’s economic developement.
She said “our work at the federal level will not achieve anything if we don’t work along with the state governments.
“It is certain that if states governments work more on investing in their states, the rates of debts will drop.”
She also urged Nigerians to invest more in their country instead of going out to invest, noting that the Nigeria economic potential will be converted to its economic wealth if more investment is done.
While commending Budgit for its efforts, Ms. Sadiku said that the quality of Budgit work cannot be false, as it gives investors privilege to see investment opportunities in Nigeria.
A representative of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Vishal Gujadhur, commended Budgit for its effort on the state of states report.
He said such report will enlighten states on how to become sustainable and how they can make good investments in their states.