By Remi Koleoso
Ado-Ekiti, – The Debt Management Office (DMO) has said that the immediate past administration of Mr Ayo Fayose had a debt profile of about N120 billion as at June.
The revelation about the financial records of Ekiti was contained in a document submitted to the DMO office in Abuja by officials of the state government in July, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.
NAN, however, reports that the DMO document was contrary to claims by the former governor that his administration left behind a debt profile of less than N60 billion.
The DMO is an agency saddled with the statutory responsibility of coordinating debt profile of all the governments in the country.
NAN reports that Fayose had claimed that Dr Kayode Fayemi’s first tenure as governor plunged the state into a debt burden that would not be paid off until 2036.
The DMO documents, however, revealed that the bond taken by the Fayemi’s administration was almost completely paid off with the first tranche of N20 billion to be completed in October 2018, and the second tranche of N5 billion bond due for payment in 2020.
NAN, further, reports that Fayemi had on Oct. 16, during his inauguration announced that his predecessor left behind a N170 billion debt, with a promise to make available the financial situation of the state within his first 100 days in office.
Reacting to the DMO documents, Fayose through his Media Aide, Lere Olayinka, claimed that the state’s debt profile was below N60 billion, saying that the new governor was being “economical with the truth.’’
Olayinka, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, titled “Ekiti debt not N120 billion, Fayemi preparing grounds for impending failure”, claimed that Fayose did not commit the state to any financial institution in form of bonds and commercial loans.
He said that the debt was either directly incurred during Fayemi’s first tenure or as a result of the loans restructuring done at the instance of the Federal Government and the National Economic Council.
In the document forwarded to the DMO Office by officials of the state government in July, the components of the N120 billion debt by the Fayose administration as at June 31 include Commercial Bank Loans of N2.08 billion received from Wema Bank in 2016 and the balance of N18.23 billion received from the FGN Bond by his government in 2015.
Others are: Budget Support Facility of N16.9billion received in 2016 and 2017, Salary Bail-Out of N9.08 billion received in 2015, Commercial Bank Loan against funds due to Ekiti State in the FGN Excess Crude Account of N9.55 billion received in 2016.
The document also showed Contractors Arrears of N2.09billion, Pension and Gratuity Arrears of N22.16 billion, Salaries arrears and other staff claims of N8.37 billion and judgment debt of N95.05 million.
The documents also revealed that the domestic debt of Ekiti increased from N117 billion to N120 billion between March and June, 2018, making the debt since Fayose assumed office as the governor to increase from N31 billion in 2014 to N120 billion as at June 31, 2018.
The report also comprised the commercial agriculture loan of N163.45 million and N3.48 billion outstanding balance of the Bond taken by the Fayemi administration during his first tenure.
It will be recalled that the former governor got the approval of Ekiti House of Assembly to further incur expenditure of N10 billion barely 30 days to the end of his tenure.
The debt figure of N120 billion submitted to the DMO office in July 2018, by the state officials does not include outstanding subventions due to tertiary institutions.
The institutions are the Ekiti State University, College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti and College of Health Technology, Ijero-Ekiti, which is in excess of between N5 billion and N4.8 billion.
Also, the eight months arrears of salaries and allowances due to the local government workers in the state and other contractual obligations not reported since end of the second quarter of this year is also not included.
Meanwhile, Fayose’s spokesman gave the breakdown of the debts left behind as follows; Commercial Bank Loan, N2.08 billion, Central Bank of Nigeria Grant for Water Project N163.45 million; Excess Crude Account backed Loan, N9.55 billion, Bailout, N9.08 million; FGN Bonds, N18.23 billion; State Bonds, N3.48 billion and Budget Support, N16.87 billion.
“Fayemi should publish the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ekiti State Executive Council and House of Assembly approvals for the loans since no loan can be taken without these approvals,” Olayinka said.
An official of the DMO, who said he was not authorised to speak officially on the matter, in a chat with NAN, expressed dismay at the statement by Fayose’s media aide.
“It is obvious that all is not well within their camp. The state officials, who have not even given us the latest figures, as at last week, have submitted documents that showed that the state debt profile was in excess of N120 billion and now a close aide of the former governor is denying the figure in a public statement.
“We are going to work with what we have at our disposal, but it is funny that the former governor’s aide will undermine his administration,” he said.
Fayose is in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged financial impropriety during his tenure.