Delta owes N272 billion, says finance commissioner
Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Chief Fidelis Tilijie, yesterday, put the state debt profile at N272 billion.
Tilije, who described the state as the most solvent, explained at a press conference in Asaba that of the amount, N84 billion is for contractors, N27 billion for pension arrears, while the balance is the debt inherited from the previous administration.
He said: “There have been bailouts before we came, there have been series of indebtedness and then, naturally, we needed to carry them out.
“The CBN, at some point in time through the instrumentality of National Economic Council ( NEC), had to freeze the payment of indebtedness that was granted to past administrations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said expected refunds remained at N240 billion with respect to 13 per cent derivation, explaining: “Out of this, we have received N14.7 billion in three quarterly instalments.”
He said the state also accessed N30 billion from the bridging finance and attempted to approach the market to discount a figure of N150 billion, which is about half of the expected refund.
“We rejigged that process and reduced it to N100 billion. So, we have received N14.7 billion and have also accessed N30 billion from the commercial market.”
The commissioner explained that the state could not clean up the debt profile despite being sure that the refunds from FAAC can do so, but the state had to take a salary bailout of N10 billion when the government came on board.
“The truth is if we are to take the total refunds, we will be putting the successive government into the same trap which Okowa met in 2015.
“So he decided that he will be his brother’s keeper, he will take a percentage of it and leave the other for the incoming government.” the commissioner explained.