N600bn debt profile sparks off fresh agitation in Delta
The over N600 billion debt profile of the Delta State government is causing disquiet among the populace. It was gathered that the debt profile has been described as unfortunate and misplaced priority on the part of its leadership amid calls for a thorough investigation.
Although, this intimidating debt profile was not incurred by the present administration led by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, it was alleged that successive administrations incurred the debt in their bid to ensure development and prompt payment of workers’ salaries in the state
The state governor recently lamented the increasing pipelines vandalization by a group of militants who have been agitating for the rights of Niger Delta region especially as oil producing region.
Expectedly, the governor disclosed that with an inherited debt and other obligations in excess of N600 billion, a workforce estimated at almost 70,000 for which a monthly expenditure of approximately N7 billion is made in the name of salary and a huge overhang of pensioners both in number and in the huge arrears of their legitimate entitlements, the financial profile of the state hitherto portends an unenviable records.
However, the case of the state with regard to its economy, is at the present far less appealing particularly in the face of the inability of the Federal Government and the militant agitators to reach an understanding on the modalities of bringing peace to the Niger Delta region.
In his reaction to the debt profile, the state Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah said the debt profile inhibited fast infrastructural development as is serviced monthly with N2 billion, thereby reducing from the poor revenue allocation from the Federal Government.
He said: “In spite of the poor allocation from the federal allocation, Delta State’s internally generated revenue is currently between three and four billion Naira. Governor Okowa with these challenges has done considerably well with infrastructure development within the space of less than two years, but our major regrets are the continued pipeline vandalization and the absence of major oil companies, hence we are appealing to the Niger Delta militants to embrace the Federal Government-initiated dialogue so that our economy can bounce back for developmental strides.”