By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos State Government, yesterday, put its debt profile at the end of 2017 at N874.38 billion.
This came as it lamented that various litigations from tax defaulters had affected moves to generate N50 billion internally-generated revenue, IGR, monthly target, saying it could only generate N34 billion.
Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, spoke at a briefing on the activities of his ministry.
Giving an update on the state’s debt profile, Ashade said government’s debt stock, comprising 48 percent local debt and 52 percent foreign debt, currently stood at N874.38 billion at the end of 2017, while the debt service charge to total revenue ratio, which stood at 17.61 percent, was still within the World Bank threshold of 30 percent.
The commissioner, who informed that litigations had been a major militating factor in actualizing its N50billion target, said: “The target we set for ourselves was N50 billion, but we all know the kind of push backs we have experienced, including people going to court and all that.
“Our commitment is not for now, it is for the future of Lagos. We know it is a marathon; we would win some and lose some.
“But we are very committed towards ensuring that we meet the target. If we don’t meet it this year, definitely there would be another year. We believe we would succeed in that target we set for ourselves.
“Notably, we are recording gradual improvement in our average monthly IGR in 2018 compared to the levels achieved in previous years due to the impact of ongoing reforms and growth in the State’s economy. Based on our first quarter results, Lagos State has so far achieved an average monthly IGR of N34billion in 2018 compared to monthly averages of N22 billion, N24 billion and N30 billion in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
On Federal Transfers, he said since Lagos joined the league of oil producing State, the Government had received a total of N327million revenue, comprising N197million and N130million received in 2017 and first quarter of 2018 respectively.
He added: “Furthermore, we are in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government towards obtaining a refund for expenditure totalling N51billion that was incurred by the State Government on behalf of the Federal Government for infrastructure projects developments in the State.
“We are optimistic of successful discussions that will result in the approval and payment of the amount owed to the State Government by the Federal Government.”