By Dipo Olowookere
The Kwara State government on Tuesday refuted reports on social media that its debt profile had increased to N50.2 billion.
Commissioner for Finance in the state, Mr Demola Banu, clarified that the state’s current debt portfolio stands at N30.2 billion with a monthly repayment of N496.4 million.
Mr Banu said in 2017, the debt stood at N31.5 billion and N30.8 billion at the end of 2018, contrary to social media speculation of N50.2 billion.
Giving a breakdown of the current indebtedness, Mr Banu explained that the N30.2 billion includes N15.3 billion as the balance of the federal government restructured loan, N4 billion as salary bail out, N9.3 billion as excess crude account loan outstanding and N128.9 million as vehicle loan balance.
He said others included the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) Agriculture Scheme with respective balances of N646.2 million and N679.2 million as well as International Aviation College loan balance of N96.2 million.
While clarifying that the repayment of N496.4 million is deducted from the state’s monthly federal allocation, Mr Banu added that the figure includes a monthly deduction of N39.6 million as repayment for foreign loans obtained by the government in the 1970s.
Giving a further breakdown, Mr Banu explained that the federal government restructured the state government’s short- and long-term bank loans to reduce monthly repayment, while the state also benefitted from a N5 billion salary bailout loan in 2015.
Additionally, the Commissioner stated that the excess crude account loans were federal government-backed bank facilities which served as seed money for the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K) and payment for ongoing projects in the state while CACS and ABP are state-government guaranteed Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loans to farmers in the state.
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