Domestic debts of Nigerian states: What is new in the latest data?

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The latest data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the 36 states of the federation owed N3.809 trillion as domestic debts by March 31, 2019. At the rate of 360/$, the 36 Nigerian states owed $10.6 billion as domestic debts at the end of the first quarter of 2019. This implies that in the first three months of 2019, domestic debts increased by N883.5 billion or 3.3 percent.

When compared with December 2016 when states owed N2.81 trillion or $7.79 billion, the 36 states of the federation grew their domestic debt portfolio by 36 percent or borrowed additional N1.004 trillion or $2.8 billion from the domestic creditors. In recent days, arguments for and against the rising debts among states have staged a comeback with the proponents and opponents justifying their positions as to what level of debt is sustainable for states.

What is new in the latest data?

First, states with low domestic debt portfolios are increasing their domestic debt profiles, albeit slowly. Take for instance, as at December 2018, the ten states with the highest domestic debts cumulatively had N1.96 trillion representing 53 percent of the total local debts owed by the 36 states. Fast forward three months later, that is by March 2019, the same ten states with the highest local debts collectively owed N1.97 trillion , which amounted to 52 percent of the N3.81 trillion local debts owed by the 36 states of the federation. In other words, the share of the biggest ten states dropped in March 2019 compared with their positions in December 2018.

By size, Lagos owed N530.24 billion domestic debt in December 2018 and that increased to N542.23 billion in March 2019, representing an increase of 2.26 percent during the three-month period. Rivers’ local … Read More...

Delta judiciary financial autonomy bill passes second reading

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The Delta State Judiciary Fund Management Financial Autonomy Bill has passed through the second reading at the Delta State House of Assembly.

The second reading of the bill, which is also the second executive bill in the seventh assembly, was sequel to a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Tim Owhefere, seconded by Reuben Izeze and adopted at Thursday’s plenary presided over by the speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori.

Opening debate on the bill, the Majority Leader, Owhefere, said the bill would enable the judiciary operate without fear or favour as it would further entrench the fact that the judiciary was the hope of the common man.

He argued that the separation of powers in a democratic setting would come into play as the judiciary would receive its funding directly from the federation account as clearly defined in the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended by the National Assembly, granting financial autonomy to the legislature and judiciary.

The Majority Leader, who highlighted various clauses in the bill, said there would be a Fund Management Board that would be established in line with the bill when passed with the Chief Judge as chairman, President of the Customary of Appeal as vice chairman, among others, to ensure transparency.

Owhefere argued that there would be probity and accountability as there would be a due process unit in line with the Due Process law passed by the House.

Others who spoke in support of the bill were the members representing Ika North East, Anthony Elekeokwuri, Ughelli North 1, Charles Oniyere, Ndokwa West, Charles Emetulu, and Uvwie, Solomon Ighrakpata.

They noted the separation of powers as subscribed by the House during the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria … Read More...

Over 39,000 businesses in Delta got N2bn support in four years

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Over 39,000 persons across the 270 wards of Delta State had their businesses boosted in the last four years, as they received monetary support from the Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration, amounting to a total of N2 billion.
The support, in form of grants and loans, passed through the Delta State Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency(DEMSMA) to the beneficiaries.
Shimite Bello, the immediate past executive secretary of DEMSMA, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay in Asaba.
Bello commended the state governor for releasing the funds to the agency to reach the targets in the various wards of the state, saying, “We were able to support about 40,000 persons, that is 39,000 plus.”
She said above this number of beneficiaries, 2,300 persons were given grants and they included welders, fashion designers, barbers and hairdressers, etc.
“We had identified with the governor that some of these particular kinds of businesses would not do well with loans; that what we needed to do was to give them a small injection for working capital, and he accepted, hence the grants,” she said.
She however lamented the inability of the remaining population of the state to have access to funds to support their businesses.
“The population of Delta State is over 5 million people. While we have this number of happy people (the beneficiaries), we still have so many more that are waiting for the government to attend to their loan requests. So, there’s still more to be done,” she said.
She mentioned the near absence of strong micro-finance banks as another big challenge facing the agency in its task of supporting businesses with funds. “We don’t have very strong micro-finance banks in the state, because when you do with micro-credit, you need good strong micro-finance banks.

Delta to establish Warri Dev’t agency to boosts economy

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Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has disclosed that the state government has put plans in place to establish a development agency to address the deplorable state of roads in Warri and environs and restore  its lost glory as the commercial nerve centre of the state.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who revealed this on Wednesday night in Asaba at a victory concert organised in his honour by entertainers in the country under the auspices of the  2Things production stated that Asaba had witnessed rapid transformation since the inception of his administration.

He said the state government was able to achieve this through the Delta State Capital Development Agency which had constructed many roads in the area, promising that the same feat would be achieved in Warri and environs.

He said the bill for the creation of the agency was before the State House of Assembly and would be passed into law very soon, pointing out that government was determined to recreate the Warri that was the commercial nerve centre of not just the state but the entire country.

The Governor noted that residents of Warri, and Uvwie would be the first beneficiaries of the developmental strides of the new agency when it swings into action and assured that other local governments would witness more government projects in his second term in office.

While emphasising that Warri had the capacity to grow the economy of the state and the nation, Governor Okowa said that with the prevailing peace in the area the task of building a Warri of everyone’s dream was a concluded matter.

He thanked Deltans particularly members of the entertainment industry for their support during the recently conducted gubernatorial election in the state, and promised to continue with the good works which had earned him the … Read More...