Sunday, January 23, 2022
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State of the States

There are concerns that Nigeria’s worsening revenue challenge may escalate into a financial implosion, with the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (sub-nationals), being the worst hit. The situation is aggravated by the nation’s escalating public debt stock (now over N35 trillion). The debt stock comprises domestic and external loan obligations of the Federal Government and the sub-nationals. With over 70 percent of the nation’s revenue committed to debt servicing annually, governments at all levels are struggling to survive. There is little left for capital budget, pay salaries and undertake other priorities to grow the economy. Moreover, there is a limit to which the people and corporates could be taxed. Yet, profligacy and waste take the centre of our governance space while frugality assumes the back seat. As such, the sub-nationals are hemorrhaging huge resources in paying salaries and other emoluments of a bloated bureaucracy. To survive, they are urged to diversify their revenue base, embark on aggressive internally generated revenue (IGR) and depend less on the shrinking federal allocations. The purpose of State of the States project, is to present evidence-based alternatives. These include avenues for the sub-nationals to become more viable and less dependent on the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) – referred to as Abuja handout. State of the States, a bi-weekly publication, features two states per edition. It endeavours to unearth hidden treasures in each state and ascertain, through consultations and evidence-based survey, areas of comparative advantages and economies of scale. The publication will show-case, in no exaggerated terms, the socio-economic status of each state and highlight the opportunities and threats. Furthermore, State of the States will examine existing realities that hinge on sector-specific areas of competitive advantage – Agriculture, Tourism, Transportation, Education and Skill Acquisition, Wellbeing and MSMEs. Ultimately, the project seeks to create the desired spotlight on the sub-nationals to motivate them to venture into something different for better results. We have featured Lagos and Ogun, Kwara and Kogi, Anambra and Enugu, Benue and Taraba, Kebbi and Sokoto, Cross River and Akwa Ibom, Ekiti and Osun, Bauchi and Gombe, Rivers and Bayelsa, Kano and Jigawa. This week periscopes Imo and Abia.

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