By Justice Nwafor

Backlash has greeted the revelation by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS that Imo State is among the “poorest states” in the federation which cannot survive without the monthly allocation from the Federal Government.

NBS also revealed that the state’s debt profile has hit 103.4 Billion Naira, making it one of the most indebted states in the Federation.

Of the over N103.4 Billion (N103,410,486,144), N80.7 Billion (N80,785,160,471.66) is domestic debt while $62.8 Million ($62,848,235), which, when converted at exchange rate of 359.999 Naira to a dollar, amounts to over N22.6 Billion (N22,625,325,673), is foreign debt.

After perusing the report, Trumpeta can authoritatively report that the state government netted over N6.8 Billion Naira (N6,850,796,866.07) from Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, and collected over N38.1 Billion (N38,116,470,854.23) from federation revenue in 2017.

Also, this newspaper learnt that Imo has the highest domestic debt profile in the entire southeast geopolitical zone while Anambra state owes the least in the southeast and in the whole country, as well.

The report which was released at the weekend placed the 36 states of the federation in three categories — the richest, middle class and the poorest.

Imo led the list of the poorest, while Kaduna and Lagos States led the list of the middle class and richest, respectively.

Apart from Ebonyi State, Imo is the only southeast state in the “poorest states” category. It is also the only oil producing state in the category.

The other southeast States -Abia, Enugu and Anambra — are in the middle class with considerably lower domestic debt profiles.

The report graded the 36 states of the federation in terms of IGR, and disclosed the level of debt stock of each of them and their collection from federation account in 2017. The Bureau put states’ total IGR in 2017 at N931.23 billion, a figure higher by over N100 billion compared to 2016 figure of N831.19 billion.

The value of foreign debt of all the states stood at $19.9 billion (N4,083,406,802.03), while domestic debts hit N3.35 trillion at the end of 2017.

From the analysis of the IGR, only five states – Lagos, Rivers, Ogun, Delta and Kano – can survive without the federal allocation. Sixteen states, Imo inclusive, generate an average of N500 million monthly as IGR, which is less than 25 per cent of their monthly wage bill, according to the NBS.