How states in Nigeria are piling up debts with no development to show

Between 2011 – 2017, the Debt Stock (External + Domestic) of states in Nigeria grew by an average of 190% by Geo-Political Zone. The biggest leap came from the North West with 256% followed by the South West and North East with 242% & 241% respectively. The South South was the lowest with 87%.


Nassarawa and Plateau States recorded the highest jump in the North Central states by a leap of 533% & 396% respectively. If we should factor only Domestic Debt, Nasarrawa grew their debt stock by over 1000% between 2011 – 2017.


Borno, Gombe, and Bauchi are the flashpoints in the North East. They grew their debt stock by 923%, 420% & 264%. It’s instructive to note that the biggest part of the debt stock for Borno was secured BEFORE the Boko Haram conflict of 2014/2015.


Kano, Jigawa, and Kebbi make up the big debtors in the North West with 652%, 464% & 389% respectively.  Considering Domestic Debt alone, Kano increased by 1497% while Jigawa increased by 1352% between 2011 – 2017.


In the South East, Enugu and Imo states make up the high numbers with 370% & 238% respectively from 2011 – 2017. Ebonyi State is the best performer in the South East and second only to Bayelsa in the entire nation with 1% increase. It’s also noteworthy that in terms of Domestic Debt, Anambra and Ebonyi achieved a reduction of 38% & 30% respectively.


The South South remains the best performing in terms of % but not in terms of amount (which they rank 2nd to the South West). Akwa Ibom has the highest jump with 236% while Bayelsa’s loan actually reduced by 7% (14% reduction by Domestic Debt).


By all accounts, the South West has the biggest jump with Osun and Oyo recording 1077% and 738% respectively. If we should consider only domestic debt, Osun State alone records an increase of 2592% while Oyo State records 2310%. Though in terms of amount, Lagos has the highest, in terms of % it comes a distant 4th in the SW after Ekiti (264%) in 3rd.

When you compare these figures with % of revenue and the shortfall between recurrent expenditure and revenue, the weak state of states becomes very obvious.

Yinka Ogunnubi is a finance professional based in Lagos.