Big industrial states that should be the leading light of lifting young people out of unemployment and poverty, are instead locked in a seeming nasty race for domestic debts.
Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) says Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers States are topping the list of states in the country with highest domestic debts as of last December. Jointly, they are owing N1.12 trillion in domestic debts, which accounts for 25.1 percent of the total state debts.
Domestic debts owed by the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, according to DMO, increased by N272.23 billion in 2021 to stand at N4.46 trillion compared to N4.18 trillion recorded as of the previous year.
Lagos, Ogun, and Imo States also recorded the highest year-on-year increase in terms of the domestic debt profile, with Lagos owing a sum of N658.96 billion, and Ogun with domestic debt of N232.62 billion. On the flip side, Delta and Rivers State recorded the highest decline in debt profile.
In terms of geopolitical regions, Western Nigeria led the chart with an aggregate domestic debt of N1.34 trillion, accounting for over 30 percent of the total debt as of the end of the review year. Southern Nigeria followed with a domestic debt profile of N988.1 billion.
Eastern Nigeria recorded the lowest domestic debts as of December 2021, with N467.45 billion, closely followed by the western axis of Northern Nigeria with N495.19 billion. Notably, of all the regions in the country, only the oil region of the South recorded a decline in its domestic debt profile.
As of the end of 2021, Lagos State’s domestic debt stood at N658.96 billion, accounting for 14.8 percent of the total domestic debt owed by the 36 states including Abuja, and over 49 percent of the entire southwest domestic debt.
The domestic debt of the economic epicenter of Nigeria saw its domestic debt increase by N150.18 billion compared to N508.78 billion as of the previous year.
Data from DMO tend to indicate that Ogun owed a total domestic debt of N232.62 billion as of December 2021, which accounted for 5.2 percent of the total states’ debt profile.
Its domestic debt rose by N79.13 billion in 2021 from N153.49 billion recorded as of the previous year.
Rivers, a major oil-producing state in the country, stands third on the list with a total domestic debt of N225.51 billion, representing a decline of N41.43 billion compared to N266.94 billion recorded as of the previous year.
Akwa Ibom State’s domestic debt stood at N214.61 billion as of December 2021, accounting for 4.8 percent of the total states’ domestic debt obligations. However, its debt was reduced by N16.19 billion in 2021 compared to N230.81 billion recorded as of the end of 2020.
Others on the list include Imo (N205.19 billion), Cross River (N159.82 billion), Delta (N154.61 billion), Bayelsa (N154.61 billion), Plateau (N150.49 billion), and Oyo State with a domestic debt stock of N142.56 billion).