Home » Ebonyi, 7 others got zero investment in 4 years – Report

Ebonyi, 7 others got zero investment in 4 years – Report

by Daudu John

Ebonyi, 7 others got zero investment in 4 years – Report

Findings showed that at least eight states failed to attract any foreign investments but piled up N194.09bn debt between 2019 and 2022.

Data from the Capital Importation reports of the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Bayelsa, Gombe, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kebbi, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara did not attract any foreign investments to their states.

However, data from the Subnational Debt reports of the Debt Management Office showed that these states had a combined debt of N710.38bn in 2019.

By 2022, the combined debt of these eight states had risen to N904.47bn, showing a difference of N194.09bn.

The debt included domestic and external debts as recorded by the DMO under the reviewed period.

In 2019, while the eight states acquired a total domestic debt of N564.69bn, they had an external debt of $316.35m (N145.69bn using the exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was N460.53 per dollar as of April 19, 2023).

By 2022, these states’ domestic debt had risen significantly to N758.39bn while the external debt increased slightly to $317.21m (N146.08bn).

This shows that the states borrowed more from local creditors than international ones.

Further breakdown showed that the top domestic debtors in 2019 were Bayelsa (N147.93bn), Gombe (N84.01bn), and Taraba (N82.32bn).

By 2022, Bayelsa (N146.37bn) and Gombe (N139.32bn) remained top domestic debtors, while Zamfara (N122.2bn) unseated Taraba (N87.96bn).

For external debts, Ebonyi ($65.2m), Bayelsa ($59.55m) and Kebbi ($44.03m) took the lead in 2019.

By 2022, Bayelsa ($60.39m) overtook Ebonyi ($58.57m), while Taraba ($46.47m) overtook Kebbi ($40.93m).

In its December 2022 edition of the Nigeria Development Update, the World Bank noted that states’ debts would rise above 200 per cent of the revenue generated in 2022 and 2023.

The report read, “Debt levels for an average state are estimated to increase from 154.6 per cent of revenues in 2021 to above 200 per cent of revenues in both 2022 and 2023.”

According to the Washington-based bank, the increase in debts will be due to low allocation from the Federation Account, which will likely weaken the fiscal condition of the states.

The global lender had earlier said that Nigerian states would likely lose N18.8bn in oil and gas revenues in 2022, as worsening revenue collection at the federation level increases budgetary pressures for the states.

According to the bank, the declining revenue from the federation level has put many states in a precarious fiscal position.

The World Bank also said foreign direct investment in Nigeria remained low because of limited forex availability, security concerns, and other structural challenges.

It said, “Net foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment flows into the Nigerian economy remain low, totalling only about 1 per cent of GDP.

“Net FDI inflows are negative, reflecting net withdrawals of equity by foreign investors. FDI and FPI flow into Nigeria do not compare favourably with similar economies of the world, reflecting difficulties with FX availability, security concerns, and other structural challenges in recent years.

 “Low growth and slow structural transformation have contributed to this outcome — the pace of structural transformation of the domestic economy of the 2000s has not been sustained over a sufficiently long period.”

Speaking on this, a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akpan Ekpo, told The PUNCH that the lack of potential investors in the states and insecurity are the major reasons for the lack of investments.

He said, “They are not importing capital for two reasons. First, they don’t have potential investors who will do that. Secondly, there is insecurity in the country. Those things are not fertile ground for investments.”

Also speaking, a development economist, Aliyu Ilias, said that the states were yet to fully develop themselves as industrialised and marketable to attract investors.

Ilias urged the states to develop an area of strength they could leverage to attract foreign investments.

He said, “Going forward, what they could do is to identify one area of strength. For instance, Bayelsa has oil and should be able to attract. I think it is about policy. They should give the policy a chance that would allow people to come and invest. They should also create an attraction and develop an economic summit that will make sure they showcase and attract investors.”

 In an earlier PUNCH report, the Chairman, Infrastructure Committee of MAN, Ibrahim Usman, said that aside from the COVID-19 pandemic that affected a number of companies abroad, there was the issue of insecurity plaguing the country.

An ECOWAS Common Investment Market consultant, Professor Jonathan Aremu, said, “It’s simple. It’s because they don’t have attractive factors. The factors that attract foreign investment are not available in those states. One thing about investment is that it is crisis shy. Investment doesn’t go to places where there are crises. Why? Because investors want stability and predictability in their investments, particularly, having returns on their investments.

“When an economy is witnessing what we are witnessing currently, despite the investment potentials of that kind of economy, investors will wait and see whether the factors that can guarantee predictable and sustainable investments will finally be available.”

He added that the twin factors of a good investment climate as well as a good perception of that climate, would have to be present for investors to develop the confidence to bring investments into the country.

The Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, stressed the need for better reforms to strengthen investors’ interest.

He also emphasised the need to address the issue of insecurity plaguing the country.

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