The outgoing Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has disclosed that his administration has no hand in the current foreign debt of $1.43bn owed by the State Government.
Ambode said the debt was inherited from previous administrations of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, which was before his tenure which began in 2015.
The governor said his administration never took foreign credit facility to run State activities due to the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Governor, made the disclosure during an exclusive interview with Joshua Bassey of Business Day, detailing the works of his administration.
Statistics from the Debt Management Office (DMO) shows Lagos State’s total external debt stock as at 31 December, 2018 stood at $1.43 billion. The external debt comprised of $1.28 billion from multilateral sources and $143.83 million as bilateral, sourced mainly from the African Development Bank.
Ambode said, “Talking about Lagos State having the highest amount in terms of foreign loans, truth is that I have it on record that in my four years, I never took any foreign loan. So, whatever it is that they are saying about having $1.43 billion is an accumulation of loans that have been taken by successive governments,” Ambode said.
“Remember also, these facilities that we call loans were taken at an exchange rate that was lower than N150. But again, this government that has not taken any of these facilities, would pay back and has been paying back in the last four years on the new exchange rate which is like N360 because government is a continuum.
“That has immense pressure on the internally generated revenue. And when you have this pressure on the IGR that you are using to service these facilities without complaining, it means that you have been financially prudent to be able to use the remaining resources to do what you have outside there in terms of infrastructure development,” said Ambode.