The Edo State government says the state’s foreign debt profile shows positive development and “there is no cause for alarm”.
Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, said the state was able to access such huge loans, because of its transparent governance and prudent financial management.
According to the records of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Lagos, Edo, Kaduna and Cross River states, in that order, are top on the list of sub-nationals with high external debts.
The government said it made sustainable development and judicious use of state funds its priorities. The Governor was also showered with encomiums for ensuring that every penny gotten from the Federation Account, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and international development organisations, are used to improve the lives of the people.
A statement issued by the State government read: “Foreign credits usually come with single, lower digit interest rates, ranging from one to five per cent. They carry many years of moratorium, that is, a period within the tenure of the loan when the borrower is not required to make repayment. This gives the borrower more time to bring development to the people and therefore increase the capacity to repay the loan.
“Contrary to opinion by less informed people that ranking as the second state in the country after Lagos with the highest foreign debts portfolio is a negative feat, it is actually a positive development because this simply indicates that Edo State, like Lagos and Kaduna states, are the few states in the country with the requisite level of transparency in governance to access the huge international pool of development financing to help improve infrastructure and enhance the living standards of the ordinary people.
“In less than three years, Obaseki’s government has constructed more roads than previous governments were able to do in 16 years. We have revamped and rebuilt basic education almost to the point of re-invention.
“There is a primary healthcare revolution currently going on in Edo State, as well as the big-ticket transactions of the Benin River Port, Benin Industrial and Enterprise Park, the Benin Modular Refinery Project and many more, where we are making steady progress.”