According to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics NBS and the Debt Management Office DMO, Cross River’s external debt grew from $184.6 million in June 2021 to $279.71million (N129,640,000000. current official exchange rate), in December 2021.
While our internal debt has also risen from N159 billion to N197.2 billion at the end of December 2022.
Cross River Internally Generated Revenue IGR, grew from N16.18 billion in 2020, to N22.91 billion in 2022.
And our federal allocation too grew from N52.22 billion in 2020 to N73.07 billion in 2022.
This gives our State total annual earnings of N96.9 billion. (less than N100 billion per annum.)
Our monthly wage bill according to Governor Ayade is over N3 billion, totaling over N36 billion annually.
So we are owed:
129,640,000000 (external) + 197,200,000000 (internal) = N326,840,000000.
We earn a paltry N96.6 billion per annum.
Use over N36 billion to pay salaries of less than ten percent of our population who work for the government.
To be left with N60.6 billion.
How on this green Earth are we going to pay those debts if we just continue kicking the can down the road?
With Cross River’s debt growing by 75.21% between 2016 and 2021 and making us the 5th most indebted State in the country as of December 2021, and our foreign debt experiencing an all-time high growth rate of 45.32%, consequently ranking us the 3rd most indebted State on foreign borrowings with a debt to revenue ratio of 215.53% which exceeds the FAAC recommended solvency threshold of 200%, are we going to continue to kowtow to the borrowing culture or what are Prince Otu’s novel ideas on how he will reschedule and manage our debts?
Does Prince Otu have any innovative ways he plans to aggressively raise and shore up the IGR of our State apart from increasing taxes or is he coming to increase the burden of taxes and to prolong the lamentation about insufficient allocation like his predecessors?
None of our politicians running for elections is unaware of the financially dire situation of the State, only to win power and turn around to complain about an issue we all are abreast of as the reason for non-performance. But the resources are in short supply only when they are needed to work for the people and provide services but not when the gladiators want money to amass for themselves. Because they always get something to steal and enrich themselves.
I am particularly very keen and interested in knowing how Prince Otu, the incoming governor will navigate this delicate canal. I am tired of the perennial complaints by successive governments of our State and I am sure many other Cross Riverians are tired too.
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.