Lagos, Kaduna, Cross River, Ogun and Oyo occupied the top position on the list of external debts incurred by state governments as of June 30, 2012.
According to states and Federal Government’s external debt stock obtained by Saturday PUNCH from the Debt Management Office, Borno, Delta, Plateau, Taraba and Anambra states had the lowest external debts.
Lagos topped the list of external debtors with $517,677,672 as of June 30, 2012.
The foreign debt increased by 5.25 per cent from $491,847.295 in December, 2011.
However, while other four states depend on federal allocations, Lagos generates a huge internal revenue, which was about N23bn monthly in the first quarter of the year.
Next to Lagos is Kaduna with $197,155.525 foreign debt as against $182,261,250 in December 2011.
Cross River has $109,351,503 external debt. As of December, the state’s external debt was $107,532,721.
Ogun State is the fourth most indebted state with $96,285.547 as of June 30, 2012. Its external debt increased by 1.8 per cent from $94,575,129.
Oyo’s external debt (the fifth) was $78,878,401 as of June 30, 2012, as against $78,085,379 in December 2011.
SATURDAY PUNCH investigations showed that the present administrations in Ogun and Oyo inherited the foreign debts from their predecessors.
States, whose external debts are low, include Borno ($12,726,028); Delta ($15,785,110); Plateau ($20,190,627); Taraba ($20,681,527) and Anambra ($25,370,842).
At the zonal level, South-West leads the external debtors with $840,913,596, followed by the North-West, $473,305,365; South-South, $289,952,619; North-Central, $189,192,241 and North-East, $186,303, 921.
Checks at the Federal Ministry of Finance indicated that Lagos got N9.34bn as federal allocation in June; while Kaduna received N4.71bn; Ogun, N3.67bn; Cross River, N3.93bn; and Oyo, N4.40bn.
The federal allocations in June for the least indebted states were: Borno, N4.39bn; Delta, N14.22bn; Taraba, N3.64bn and Anambra, N3.80bn.
Most states, except Lagos, which rakes in an average of N23bn monthly as internally generated revenue, rely on federal allocations.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, had at the annual public lecture of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, in Lagos in June, stated that the state’s monthly IGR was N23bn.
Fashola, who was represented by Lateef Abari, Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office, IGR of the state, said the amount rose from a paltry N600m monthly in 1999 to its current N23bn.
External debts of other states, apart from the 10 mentioned above are: Abia, $32,675,171; Adamawa, $29,183,118; Akwa Ibom, $61,198,851; Bauchi, $63,029,387; Bayelsa, $27,897,951; Benue, $26,501,393 and Ebonyi $41,060,946.
Edo State’s foreign debt is $41,408,440; Ekiti, $34,071,754; Enugu, $47, 788,769; Gombe, $29,572,867; Imo, $50,573,894; Jigawa, $28,720,760; Kano, $59,400,227; Katsina, $74,147,092 and Kebbi, $47,132,689.
Kogi State is owing $33,976,282; Kwara, $43,798,143; Nasarawa, $36, 547,616; Niger, $28,178,180; Ondo, $52,255,534; Osun, $61,744,688; Rivers, $34,301,764; and Sokoto, $40,419,413.
Others are Yobe State, $31,111,004; Zamfara, $26,329,259 and the Federal Capital Territory, $37,671,245.
When contacted, most state governments declined to give their domestic debts, which, SATURDAY PUNCH gathered, were on the high side.
Some, however, explained their external debts, while others said that there was no cause for alarm over their high indebtedness.
In Lagos, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru, said the state was credit worthy.
He said, “Our financial environment combines credit worthiness with probity, accountability and transparency in all facets of our financial transaction.”