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DEBT PROFILE: FASHOLA JUSTIFIES N160bn STATE’S DEBT.

Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola has justified the decision of the State government to take external loan facilities worth over 160billion-naira, saying the money will be easily paid back as and when due.

Fashola who said this while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after an inspection tour of the ongoing construction of the light rail terminus at Orile-Iganmu, Lagos queried the intention of the federal government’s continuous publication of the state’s debt profile.

He said he was satisfied with the work done so far on the project, lamenting that the work did not move smoothly as expected, as it should have been completed in another 12 months.

Harping on the rationale behind the debt, Fashola said: “I think it was the debt management office of the federal government that published the report that we have a debt of about N160billion. I don’t know the intent of the publication but if it was to inform the public, I think we have always kept the public informed anytime we borrow money. If there are other intentions besides that, only those who made the publication would know what the intentions are.

“But you see, when people talk about debt of a state like Lagos, they forget that after Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and one other country, we have the fifth largest economy in Africa. You are talking of about a billion naira debt to a population of over 21 million; because if you are measuring the debt, you also have to measure the responsibility. Those are the things people keep in isolation.”

He said the Lagos State government already has in place, strategies for the repayment of the loan, adding that the federal government was in the know of the state’s decision to take the bond and it approved it.

 

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