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How true is the claim that Obaseki-led Govt. never borrowed to execute projects in Edo?

Governor Godwin Obaseki [Photo credit: Premium Times] 3 mins read

A twitter user recently claimed that Governor Godwin Obaseki has not borrowed a dime for Edo State as Governor.

False. The claim that Edo State did not borrow a dime under Governor Godwin Obaseki is false. DMO’s records showed that Edo State’s external debt stock rose by $92.29 million in the first three years under Governor Obaseki. Within the same period, the state’s domestic debt stock rose by N49.6 billion from N45.09 billion as at December 31, 2016 (less than two months the Governor assumed office) to N95.69 billion as at December 31, 2019.

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A twitter user, Ohmz, claimed that the Edo State Governor, Obaseki has not incurred debts while executing infrastructural developments in the state.

“Have you bothered to know that with all he has done so far in education, power, road construction, and other infrastructure, he hasn’t borrowed a dime. Unlike his immediate predecessor that borrowed over $70m which Obaseki has paid a chunk amount of. Business has become easier,” the tweet read on his handle @Ohmz03078626.

The claim was a reaction to another post in which a twitter user Bankole Akintunde Adebayo claimed that APC would win Edo state come September. 

Adebayo’s tweet, which elicited the claim being checked read: “APC will win Edo state come September. Not solely because of Ize-Iyanmu’s grassroot popularity or Oshiomhole’s rallying power but because of Obaseki’s woeful underperformance. Where are his projects? What is he telling Edo people apart from mundane political clichés?”

The claim that Governor Obaseki had not taken any loan was meant to counter Adebayo’s projection.

But how true is the claim?

Bankole Akintunde Adebayo’s Tweet

Verification

Godwin Obaseki was sworn in as the Executive Governor of Edo State on November 12, 2016. 

Data sourced from the Debt Management Office (DMO) showed that as at December 31, 2016, Edo State’s total external debt stock stood at $183.64 million.

DMO’s records also showed that as at December 31, 2019, Edo State’s external debt stock had risen to $275.93 million. 

This shows that in three years, the external debt of Edo State rose by $92.29 million from December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2019 under the administration of Governor Obaseki. 

Similarly, data from the DMO showed that as at December 31, 2016, Edo State’s domestic debt stock was N45.09 billion.

The domestic debt stock had risen to N95.69 billion as at December 31, 2019. 

Analysis showed that Edo State’s domestic debt under Governor Obaseki doubled what he inherited in three years.

The domestic debt stock rose by N49.6 billion from N45.09 billion as at December 31, 2016 (less than two months since he assumed office) to N95.69 billion as at December 31, 2019.

However, DMO’s record showed that Edo State’s domestic debt stock dropped to N84.76 billion as at March 31, 2020.

It is worth noting that debt service is a first line charge, and in the case of external loans, it is usually deducted at the level of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC). However, it is not impossible that the rise in the debt stock may include interests on the loans inherited by Gov. Obaseki, but definitely not limited to it. 

Conclusion

The claim that Edo State did not borrow a dime under Governor Godwin Obaseki is false. DMO’s records showed that Edo State’s external debt stock rose by $92.29 million in the first three years under Governor Obaseki. Within the same period, the state’s domestic debt stock rose byN49.6 billion from N45.09 billion as at December 31, 2016 (less than two months he assumed office) to N95.69 billion as at December 31, 2019.

The researcher produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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