Worried by the high debt profile of Oyo State, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the 2015 election, Engr. Seyi Makinde has said that the appetite by Governor Abiola Ajimobi for domestic debt and high recurrent expenditure has plunged the state into unnecessary debt.
Inside Oyo recently published a recent publication by the Debt Management Office, DMO, which put Oyo States’ domestic debt at N115.9bn.
It would be recalled that both Makinde and Ajimobi contested the 2007 senatorial and governorship elections respectively under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Congress, ANPP.
According to Makinde, in a statement released by his media office, Ajimobi’s second term is plagued by an appetite for domestic debt and high recurrent expenditure, which if not urgently tackled may lead the state into economic downturn.
He revealed that the state owed N4.8bn domestic debt in 2011 when Governor Ajimobi took over.
Quoting the DMO, the oil magnate stated that “this has increased by more than 2000 percent within five years, while external debt over the same period reduced by just 9 percent from $78m to $71m.”
It stated further that the huge debt is the worst in the history of the state, blaming the situation on the profligacy of the administration in the state.
The statement reads: “The crave for domestic debt by this administration must be the worst in the history of our dear state, but what should worry any patriotic citizen of Oyo State is that the current debt value may have doubled by the end of 2017 because the government would have to borrow at least, approximately N100bn, to fund the 2017 budget over which we raised alarm some months ago due to the unrealistic targets and spending.”
The Ibadan-born politician explained that the debt is not particularly bad if the borrowed fund is wisely channelled towards revenue-driving projects and infrastructure projects that yield economic productivity. “This is where the current administration failed woefully, always throwing money at problems without well thought-out solutions, impact and outcomes,” he said.
“My policy team has carried out a profile of Oyo State and we have come to the conclusion that the state – with a prime place in history, large arable land, presence of education and research centres – can become the most attractive place to live, visit and work in Nigeria. Our assessment also showed that the resources that have accrued to this administration were enough to steer the state in this direction.”
He added that the “danger that lies ahead for Oyo State” requires a more innovative solution under the guide of focused governance.
He, therefore, advised “ that the good people of Oyo State must be thoughtful in electing the next leadership which must be one with the vision and passion to turn around the fortune of the state. It is almost certain that the current government will leave Oyo State in a precarious state and it will be a grave mistake to support the continuity of such.”