Huge debt burden crippling Akwa Ibom – Report 

The Data released by the Debt Management Office revealed that the debt burden facing Akwa Ibom state stood at  347.75 billion naira, Blueprint has learnt.

From the report, the state gulp a whooping 215.99 billion naira debt in 2019 but the debt unabatedly surge to 347.75 billion naira in 2023, indicating a 61.1% rise within four years.

Addressing a press conference in Uyo, weekend, the Chairman of Tax Justice and Governance Platform Forum of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Harry Udoh, lamented that the huge debt profile of the state was posing grave implications for tax justice.

He regretted that humongous debt burden and reckless financial management hampers development and stifles economy from flourishing.

“The burgeoning debt of Akwa Ibom State poses grave implications for tax justice. Heightened debt burden may spur regressive tax policies, disproportionately affecting low-income residents and exacerbating socioeconomic disparities.

“The escalating debt has adverse ramifications for public service delivery, notably in education, healthcare, water and sanitation.

“Debt servicing claims a large share of resources, funding for essential services diminishes, threatening the well-being of vulnerable groups and hindering societal development.

“Furthermore, the mounting debt hampers entrepreneurship and economic advancement. 

“Prioritising debt servicing over crucial investment stifles innovation and job creation, fostering economic stagnation and perpetuating cycle of poverty,” Udoh added.

However, for the state to properly manage its debt burden, the Forum urged that the state should prioritise investment in education, health and entrepreneurship.

The Forum further advised the state to improve efficiency of tax administration processes to help reduce costs and promote greater transparency and accountability.