The Bayelsa government plans to borrow N43.57 billion to augment the N310.7 billion proposed for the 2022 fiscal year as the state’s debt profile hits N169 billion.
The borrowing plan is contained in the 2022 Appropriation Bill of the state.
Checks on official records indicate that the debt grew following the recent approval granted by the state House of Assembly to Governor Douye Diri to obtain an additional loan of N18.7 billion.
Data from the website of the Debt Management Office, pegs Bayelsa’s debt as of June 2021 at over N150.60 billion, up from the N123 billion inherited on assumption of office in February 2020.
On October 20, Mr Diri presented the 2022 Appropriation Bill to the House of Assembly which subsequently sent it to its Committee on Appropriation for legislative action.
The 2022 appropriation bill, currently under consideration by the Appropriation Committee of the house, puts the running cost of governance at N70.56 billion, some 22 per cent of the budget.
The state has set aside N61.75 billion for debt servicing and repayments.
Mr Diri says the N18.7 billion loan has a 30-year tenure and will enable the state government to meet its financial obligations.
The N18.7 billion is the fourth in the series of loans that Mr Diri’s administration has taken following the nod of the 24-member house to collect since it was inaugurated on February 14, 2020.
Barely two weeks in office, in March 2020, the government took a loan of N2.9 billion to purchase cars for the governor and the deputy governor as well as for top government officials.
Also in November 2020, the government borrowed N17 billion from multiple sources and secured another N3.5 billion loan in December of the same year.