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Top 10 Nigerian states with highest foreign debt in 2023

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The Debt Management Office (DMO) recently disclosed the total external debt stock of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) reached $4.61 billion by December 31, 2023, from $4.46 billion recorded in the previous year.

In one year, the foreign debt of the 36 states and the FCT increased marginally by about 3.36% or $150 million. Below are the top 10 Nigerian states with the highest foreign debt stock as of December 31, 2023:

At the bottom of the top 10 list, Anambra State held an external debt of $107.24 million in 2023, a slight increase from its $103.82 million debt in 2022. Despite this uptick, Anambra’s debt management remains relatively stable.

Kano State’s external debt rose to $107.92 million in 2023, up from the previous year’s $100.67 million, showing an increase of 7.2%.

Enugu, known for its coal reserves, showed a marginal reduction in its external debt, from $120.86 million in 2022 to $120.45 million in 2023. The slight decrease suggests a positive trend in the state’s debt management.

Ekiti State’s debt profile reflects a considerable hike. Its external debt was $121.05 million in 2023, notably higher than the $105.59 million recorded in 2022.

Ogun State, adjacent to the economic hub of Lagos, showed an external debt figure of $168.83 million in 2023, up from $136.26 million in 2022. The state’s strategic positioning could help it leverage investment to service its debts.

With an external debt of $187.63 million in 2023, Bauchi State saw an increase from $165.78 million the previous year. The rise in debt underscores the need for enhanced revenue streams.

Cross River, with its tourism potential, recorded a slight increase in external debt to $211.13 million in 2023 from $209.53 million in 2022.

Edo State’s external debt jumped to $314.45 million in 2023 from $261.15 million in 2022. Despite its rich cultural heritage and natural resources, this is a substantial increase for the state.

Kaduna State has an external debt of $587.07 million in 2023, climbing from $573.74 million in the previous year.

Topping the list, Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, had the highest external debt at $1.24 billion in 2023. However, this figure is slightly less than the $1.25 billion in 2022. The slight decline is likely due to a dependance on more domestic debt, which is about N1.05 trillion.

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