Soludo’s heavy debt burden

The amount of debt inherited by the newly installed Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, has remained a topic of discourse among stakeholders in the state and beyond.

One of Soludo’s unique selling points during his electioneering for the governorship poll in Anambra State was the international pedigree of the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also highlighted was the financial intelligence that he would bring to play after assuming office as the Governor of Anambra State.

This hope was largely hinged on the fact that Soludo would consolidate the strides of his predecessor, Willie Obiano.

Many people expected that Obiano would follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Mr Peter Obi, formerly of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the same political party as Obiano and Soludo.

Peter Obi has been widely applauded by political analysts as the governor who prudently managed the state’s funds.

Recently his media aide, Valentine Obienyem, stressed that Obi left over N35bn cash (set aside funds added) in all the banks.”

However, his successor, Willie Obiano had debunked the notion that Obi left behind a ‘fortune’.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Anambra State’s Internally Generated Revenue ranged from N7,396,560,094.34 in half-year 2016 to N9,017.138.347 he half-year 2017.

BudgIT, a Nigerian civic organisation, earlier noted in its 2021 report that only Lagos, Rivers and Anambra states could take care of their affairs and fund their 2022 budgets without a bailout from the Federal Government.

It explained, “They meet their operating expenses obligations with a combination of their internally generated revenue and Value Added Tax.”

Anambra State was also the only state that did not receive the N614bn bailout funds granted by the Federal Government to pay salaries in 2017, due to dwindling federal allocations to states. However, it received N6,121,656,702.34 out of the N243.8bn Paris Club loan refund to the states.

It, therefore, came as a surprise to many when Soludo lamented in an Arise Television interview that the state of finances he inherited was not robust and that only N300m or N400m cash was left for him in addition to statutory debts of over N100bn and undisclosed contingent liabilities, including contractors’ debts running into billions of naira.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here