Nigeria’s debt hits N38.005trn – DMO

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Nigeria’s sovereign debt stock, as at September 30 stood at N38.005 trillion or $92.626 billion, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.

The debt comprises total external and domestic loans of the Federal Government, 36 states and the FCT.

According to the DMO, the increase of N2.54 trillion when compared to the corresponding figure of N35.465 trillion at the end of Q2 2021 was largely accounted for by the $4 billion Eurobonds issued by the government in September 2021.

“The issuance of the $4 billion Eurobonds has brought significant benefits to the economy by increasing the level of Nigeria’s external reserves, thereby supporting the Naira exchange rate and providing necessary capital to enable the Federal Government finance various projects in the budget.

“The triple tranche $4 billion Eurobond, issued in September 2021, was for the implementation of the new external borrowing of $6.18 billion in the 2021 Appropriation Act”, it explained.

However, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has severally insisted that Nigeria does not have a debt problem.

According to her, what the government needed to do was to increase its revenue generating capacity in order to boost revenue to about 50 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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“Nigeria does not have a debt problem. What we have is a revenue problem.

“Our revenue to GDP is still one of the lowest among countries that are comparable to us. It’s about 19 per cent of GDP and what the World Bank and IMF recommended is about 50 per cent of GDP for countries that are our size. We are not there yet. What we have is a revenue problem”, she posited at a recent summit. But economic watchers insist Nigeria is gradually walking into a debt trap.

Commenting on Nigeria’s ballooning debt profile, a former Imo State Finance Commissioner, Prof Uche Uwaleke, explained that the crash in revenue generation always leads the Nigerian government to borrow.

“The way forward is to make conscious efforts to have multiple streams of income, including through embracing the private sector to develop the enabling environment for this to happen. The economy has remained vulnerable to external shocks due to inability to hugely diversify revenue sources.

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