Sunday, 6 April 2014

News Release: Obi’s N86.65 Billion Credit Balance & Problem Of Huge States’ Debts In Nigeria (Part Two)

Ex Governor Peter Obi


This is the concluding part of the above named statement on Obi’s trilling credit balances in office. The breakdown of the updated credit balances contained in the former popularly elected governor’s handover, investigated by our leadership, is as follows:
  1. Local Investments in SABMiller, Independent Power Project, Orient Petroleum,  Agulu, Awka & Onitsha Hotels  as at 17th  of March, 2014 stood at N27 billion.
  2. Foreign Currency Investments (external bonds with due dates & interests) spread in Diamond, Access and Fidelity Banks as at 17th day of March, 2014 stood at $156million or N26.5 billion.
  3. Certified State / MDAs / MDGs’ cash balances as of the date under reference at N28.165 billion.
  4. Federal Government of Nigeria’s approved refund for federal roads done and completed on its behalf by the Government of Anambra State as at 17th day of March, 2014, stood at  N10 billion.
  5. These bring the grand total to N91, 65 billion.  When deducted from the received and paid  certificates of already executed projects of N5 billion, the total  remaining balance as at 17th day of March, 2014, stood at N86.665 billion.
In other words, as at 17th of March 2014, Mr. Peter Obi’s former administration left total investments and cash balances of N86.665 billion and not N75 billion as previously stated. It is also important to point out as at 31st of December 2013, the official records of the Debts Management Office of the Federation still showed that Anambra State owed total domestic and foreign debts of N10. 7billion. In the context of “continuity” doctrine or tradition, this ought to have been reflected in both stewardship account and statutory handover note of former governor Peter Obi. On the other hand, even if it is deducted from investments and cash balances of his N86.665 billion, Anambra State under him is still on sound financial footing with N76 billion worth of cash and investments.

States Of The Federation & Their Huge Debts: While it is important to ignore the antics of some failed politicians rattled by Obi’s trilling billions of credit balance, it is also important to curtail their nuisance values by throwing more light into the sorry state of finances in most of the States in Nigeria. It is an irrefutable fact that most States in Nigeria including the super oil States of Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom and super IGR (internally generated revenues) States of Lagos and Ogun are hugely indebted, both internally and externally. We are therefore, not surprised at the antics of some failed politicians to cast a doubt at the celebrated healthy financial state of Anambra. It is an indisputable fact that Lagos State debts alone are more than total debts owed by the five States of the Southeast zone. As of 31st of December, 2013, official records showed that the State under reference was indebted to the tune of over N350 billion. It additionally borrowed $200M in 2013 to be spent in its 2014 fiscal year. The above did not include domestic debts through bonds accumulated since January 2012 till date. Some insider sources hold a strong view that the State’s total actual debts, domestically and externally are up to N500 billion.  Lagos State is also said to have reached a ‘‘debt ceiling’’.

The domestic and foreign debts of 15 most indebted States in Nigeria as at December 2011 and June 2013 respectively are the following: Lagos N350Billion (excluding domestic debts incurred in 2012 and 2013), Bayelsa N167Billion, Cross River N107Billion, Delta 93Billion, the FCT N91Billion, Rivers N89Billion, Kaduna N75Billion, Ondo 56Billion, Akwa Ibom N50Billion, Ogun N47Billion, Ebonyi N46Billion, Edo N45Billion, Kogi N39Billion, Imo N34Billion and Adamawa N30Billion. It is important to state that domestic debts incurred by the States above named in 2012 and 2013 were not added. Imo State’s N34 billion debts as disclosed by the DMO is strongly questionable because it is one of the States that have reached “debts ceiling”, which depicts reckless borrowings and over-sized indebtedness. Anambra State, on its part, remains one of the least indebted States and only credit State in Nigeria with a total debt of N10.7Billion, which is made up of local debts of N6.4Billion and foreign debts of $27.3Million or about N4.27Billion. The State’s dollar cash balance in bonds of $156M or naira equivalent of N26.5 billion is two and a half times higher than its total debts of N10.7 billion. As we write, some States like Ebonyi, Enugu, Bauchi and Niger are back in local capital markets, seeking to borrow again. The total loans being sought by the four States in the country’s local capital markets is said to be between N90 billion and N100 billion.

At the six geopolitical zonal levels, South-south geopolitical zone is the most indebted zone in terms of domestic debt with a total of N508, 692Billion. The zone is home to Nigeria’s superbly rich oil States of Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom. The second most indebted geopolitical zone in the country’s States’ local debts is Southwest, which owes N305.9Billion. The North-central zone and the FCT is the third most indebted zone in terms of local debts with N214.7Billion, followed by Southeast with N107.1Billion, Northeast zone with N72.7Billion and Northwest with N69.8Billion. Another important thing to note is the fact that local debts incurred by the States in the affected zones since January 2012 till date are not included. In the area of foreign debts, the Southwest zone is the most indebted zone owing $1,18Billion as at December 31, 2013, out of which, Lagos State alone owes $857 million. The second most indebted zone in foreign borrowings is the Northwest zone, which owes $540Million.  The Nigeria’s third most indebted zone in foreign loans is South-south zone with $302.2Million, followed by the North-central and the FCT with $230.6Million, Southeast zone with $217.1Million and Northeast with $198.6Million.

Finally, the common characters of many, if not most of Nigeria’s public office holders are coherent at all times with any negative definition, including malcontent, treacherous, subversive, wicked, beastly and mischievous. In the country, fundamental yardsticks to measure public governance are fundamentally lacking. In other words, whatever a public office holder, like a State governor calls good governance is what good governance becomes. If he or she decides to mortgage the future of the State in serial borrowings (i.e. Lagos), it becomes a norm. If he or she adopts State terrorism and mass killings as an official policy (i.e. Anambra under Mbadinuju & his Bakassi boys killer squad), it becomes a norm and celebrated. Nigeria’s whistle blowers and watchdogs are like locomotive engines adorned with steady noise without end. The likes of Government of Lagos State now divides and calculates its huge public loans by GDP to justify being neck-deep in serial public loans’ procurement. This is in-spite the fact that Lagos State is a N24 billion monthly internally generated revenue economy. This type of act is expressly deemed “economic crime and sabotage” and can attract death penalty by hanging in countries like China.

What we call “government” today has its root from agriculture, which, in turn, originated from family. As it is traditionalized in family and agricultural circles, when a family head is debt free, he becomes happy and highly respected among his family members and kindred. Same thing applies to a debt free farmer. There is no amount of justification that will make borrowing a credit factor. Borrowing is bad in all its ramifications and remains a deficit factor. One of the greatest weapons China has against the United States of America today is her credit status and worthiness.  China is also America’s global landlord in world economy because of its huge investments in USA’s economy including billions of dollars loaned to USA. This has become her major foreign policy weapon against USA. China is the world reigning “creditor country” and fastest growing economy.

Flowing from the forgoing in its totality is the fact that Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State has become Nigeria’s “Chancellor of Exchequer” and  should be treated and celebrated in the like manner. The highly organized and well funded campaign of calumny by politicians of underworld and their failed counterparts against him and his record breaking achievement in office are not unexpected because when a leader or public office holder in Nigerian context records what his or her colleagues failed woefully to achieve, he or she becomes the target of image, character and physical assassination. In Nigeria, it pays to do evil or be a monumental failure in public office than to be a great achiever.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
08180103912, 08033601078
emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk, botchairman@intersociety-ng.org

Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
08037114869
juijeoma@yahoo.com

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