Reports have emerged to indicate the financial health of Imo State as the governor, Rochas Okorocha, prepares to hand over to the political party (PDP) he wrestled power from in the first place.
1. Total Domestic Debt Obligation: N101, 964,536,533.04
2. Foreign Debt Obligations: $65million/N23billion
3. Pension Arrears/ Liabilities: N57,000,000,000
4. Debts / liabilities owed to deposit money banks, contractors, judgement debts liabilities etc.N48billion.
Total Estimated Debts and Liabilities : N230, 494,536,533.00 (Two Hundred and Thirty Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety Four Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand , Five Hundred and Thirty Three Naira Only). Kindly do a rough desktop estimate of the debt servicing obligations on just the interest portions of this huge debt staring Imo state in the face and see the rough roads ahead.
Kindly also note that Okorocha’s 2019 Budget, approved by the rubber stamp House of Assembly with an estimate expenditure of N276billion contains a huge deficit financing gap of N179bn. Only God knows the portion of this huge N179billion debt financing gap that has been added to the already existing N230billion liabilities trap hole so far.
The scary fiscal design, structure and framework of Okorocha’s 2019 budget is such that it did not make any provisions for alternative/alternate wealth creation and economy buidling /projects funding architecture/dynamics that will do not put more debt burden to the already overloaded/debt stricken Imo state balance sheet.
For the incoming government, whose mantra is to rebuild IMO STATE , the situation is even scarier, because a significant portion of the paltry FISCAL REVENUES that comes into Imo state coffers by way of FAAC and JAAC have been pledged to debtors under the statutory fund stream deduction arrangement from source.
Current monthly obligations by way of salaries and over bloated corruption infested overhead of Imo state is put at N4.8billion. Add this outlay to the debt services obligation and then, place it side by side with the usual fiscal revenue due to the state and you will feel the heavy burden that Ihedioha is about to inherit.
The Incoming Ihedioha led government must as a matter of urgency set up a Special Forensic Advisory Group (SFAG) to commence immediate forensic review and strategic work planning on how to tackle all these fiscal deformities and landmines that are strewn all over the places through the inept/ governance malfeasance of the current Imo state government .
Government is a continuum. Once, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha is sworn in as the Governor of Imo state on May 29, 2019, these monstrous liabilities/stench becomes his.
The critical assignment of this STRATEGIC FORENSIC ADVISORY GROUP SFAG, is to critically articulate all these challenges, sector by sector and provide workable /executable solutions/deliverables with clearly defined timelines.
For Imo state to survive prosperously post Okorocha regime , this team must have in place before May 29, 2019, in principle agreed funding frameworks/arrangements to enable the incoming governor finance most of the projects in his manifesto outside the limited fiscal revenues that comes to the state. This funding framework must be supported with fiscal, governance, transparent, accountable and investor friendly policies, programs and sweeteners that will make Imo state the sweet pod for the investor bees.
There must also be clearly articulated programs/dynamics/timelines on how to quickly recover the over N112.8billion heist from Imo treasury that is sitting out there and other confiscated public assets valued at over N220billion without disrupting the free flow of credible governance in the state.
May God help us to Rebuild Imo State
Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri, FICA, MIRA .