Ebonyi State foreign debt portfolio has risen in the last six years, Financial Street can report.
According to data pooled from the Nigerian Debt Management Office’s official website, the state’s foreign debt rose by 39.62 per cent from $47.2m in December 2015 to $65.9m in December 2020.
During the years under review, its foreign debt was highest in 2018 at $66.7m.
The figure was more than double by 137.37 per cent between 2016 and 2018.
The increasing debt profile for Ebonyi, the DMO said, excluded the $70m ‘Ring Road Project’ loan warehoused by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance.
If the $70m is added to the 2020 $65.9m, Ebonyi’s foreign debt portfolio totals $135.9m, the management office disclosed.
“At the official exchange rate of N411 to a dollar, our state owes N55.85bn. This excludes domestic debt of N42.41bn contained in NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) report released last month,” a statement from DMO reportedly said.
The crux of the matter, according to the DMO, is that Ebonyi’s foreign debt profile rose from $47.3m in 2015 to $65.9m in 2020 with the exclusion of the $70m Ring Road project.
It said, “The questions, therefore, are: who borrowed the $18.9m additional sum since this current administration told the world sometime last year it hasn’t borrowed a dollar since it came to power?”
In 2015, the state got N4.063bn of its share from the federal government of Nigeria’s bail-out funds designed to ease the financial challenges faced by the second tier of government, to clear outstanding salary arrears of their workers.
In 2019, funding was approved for the state for an important road project, a $70m loan provided by the African Development Bank Group in partnership with the Africa Growing Together Fund, and $80m provided by the Islamic Development Bank.
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