Lagos State, the commercial nerve-center of Nigeria, has retained its position as the state with the highest foreign debt in the country, with a foreign debt put at $1.45 billion as at June 30.
A document obtained from the Debt Management Office (DMO), on Wednesday in Abuja, titled: ‘States, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Federal Governments’ External Debt Stock as at June 30, 2018,’ also detailed other states’ external debts.
The document also stated that the external debt stock of the entire nation stood at $22 billion with the Federal Government incurring $17.8 billion, while the states and the FCT owed $4.28 billion.
This means that the Federal Government accounts for 81 per cent of the country’s external debt, while the states and the FCT account for 19 per cent.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as at December 31, 2017, Lagos State also had the highest foreign debt portfolio 1.47 billion dollars, but the figure reduced to $1.45 billion by June 30.
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 owing $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 with $81.4 million; Rivers, $79.5 million ; Ebonyi, $67.9 million; Kano, $65 million; Katsina, $64.7 million and Delta, $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.
Others are Akwa Ibom with $48.3 million; Kebbi, $46.7 million; Kwara, $49.8 million and Sokoto with $40.2 million.
States with the lowest debt portfolio include Taraba, with $22.1 million; Borno, $22.2 million; Yobe, with $28.4 million and Plateau with $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.
NAN reports that the Director-General of DMO, Patience Oniha, had at a media conference on August 14, said as at June 30, the nation’s public debt stock increased marginally by 3.01 per cent from that of December 2017.
“One of the beneficial outcomes is the rebalancing of the debt stock, the ratio of domestic debt to external debt inching towards the target of 60:40 and the target of 75:25 between long term domestic debt and short term domestic debt.
According to the figures for June 30 released by the DMO, the ratio between domestic and external debt stood at 70 to 30 compared to 73 to 27 in Dec. 2017.
Mr Oniha said the ratio of 60 to 40 was important to ensure that the nation was not 100 per cent indebted externally, and that it was also easier to raise money domestically.
Mr Oniha also said 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. (NAN)