By Yusuf Ishaku Goje
Do you know that in the Kaduna State 2023 approved budget our Foreign Loan and Interest Repayment is N25.8 billion; while the Domestic Loan and Interest Repayment is N9.6 billion?
This brings our total Debt Service for this year to N35.4 billion. That is 80.8% of the overhead cost of N43.8 billion; 63.1% of the Personnel cost of N56.2 billion; and 26.1% of the Recurrent Total of N135.5 billion.
Furthermore, it is 39.7% of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N89.3 billion; 18.1% of the total revenue of N196.3 billion; and 19.7% of Capital Account (minus Recurrent Budget Surplus/Deficit) of N180.2 billion
Also, in the 2023 approved budget, the State government is proposing to collect an External Loan of N61.7 billion. This should be considered alongside the Debt Management Office (DMO) figures for the State.
According to the DMO, our Foreign Loan, as of 30th September 2022, is $586.8 million; while our Domestic Loan, as of 30th June 2022, was N86.9 billion.
Debt as a concept is not bad and for the most part inevitable for any government. This is evident as most of the developed countries we look up to are highly indebted.
However, three things are key and we should look out for the quality of utilization, value for money in terms of return on investment, and capacity to service or pay back.
Therefore, as you are busy supporting, defending, or undecided about the candidate to support in the forthcoming elections, do not forget that governance is ongoing. The government is currently carrying out services with public funds.
Do not be carried away by the emotions and noise of the campaigns and forget to engage, ask the right questions and hold the incumbent government accountable. It is your right because it is your mandate.
More importantly, ensure that the candidates you are either supporting or defending or even undecided about are capacitated and equipped, before giving them your mandate, to raise enough revenue to service our rising debt, settle our liabilities, and pay for the increasing recurrent and capital expenditures of the State.
Goje is a concerned active citizen. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org