NIGERIA’S TOTAL DEBTS PROFILE NOW N33TRN

NIGERIA’S TOTAL DEBTS PROFILE NOW N33TRN

SENATE;

The Senate on Monday declared that the total debts profile of Nigeria is now N33trillion after the approval of $22.7billion foreign loans requested for by President Muhammad Buhari penultimate week. This is as the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs Patience Oniha, expressed fear that economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic may incapacitate the country from servicing it appropriately.

Submission to this effect was made in Abuja at the one-day public lecture organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), on ‘public debt in Nigeria: trend, sustainability and management .’ the deputy chairman of Senate committee on local and foreign debts, senator Muhammad Bima Enagi (APC Niger South), in his remarks at the occasion borrowing has always served as veritable financial platforms for many countries of the world in running their economies but judiciously utilizing such loans for intended projects and servicing the debts appropriately have also been problems for some of them, particularly the developing ones like Nigeria. According to him, realities on the ground in the country in terms of required infrastructure and debts accumulations between 2006 and now, are not in any way connected. The very reason, he explained, many Nigerians are worried whenever they hear that their government seeking a loan or the other.

From a low ratio of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) of about 3.4 per cent at independence, Nigeria’s total public debt as at September 30, 2019, according to DMO stands at about N26.2 trillion ($85.4billion) which is 68.45% of the total public debts. With the recent approval of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan, the total debt stock would be about N33 trillion and 21 Debt GDP ratio. “The big question in the minds of average Nigerian aware of this act is, ‘what did we do with the money? In other words, where did the money go?’ “What do we have to show as a people for these huge debts accumulated over the last four decades or so? He queried. He added that in stopping the ugly trend, the senate and by extension, the National Assembly, is more than determined to monitor the executive on prompt utilization of new loans being sought for, in saving the country from going back to pre2005 and 2006 debt burden era by.

NIGERIA’S TOTAL DEBTS PROFILE NOW N33TRN
NIGERIA’S TOTAL DEBTS PROFILE NOW N33TRN

His words: “consequences of these borrowings is that the sheer magnitude of the National Annual Debt Servicing put at about N2.47 trillion for 2020, makes the provision of basic but essential amenities and infrastructure in the country, almost impossible without further borrowings. “Clearly, Nigeria needs to get its public finance in order to avoid the potential fiscal and financial crisis ahead of the nation. “The current debt situation Nigeria needs to be properly managed and every borrowed naira or dollar, carefully deployed, especially in the face of the continued dependence of there nation’s economy on exported crude oil, with its usual price volatility. “Borrowing must be project tied and not just to9 support budget deficit. Furthermore, the projects must be such to grow the economy and bequeath laudable infrastructure and not debt for future generations, “the government must improve on its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) its Foreign Exchange Earnings and reduce importation of unnecessary goods.

To this end, the 9th national assembly will ensure very effective oversight. “But the DMO Boss in her remarks said there was no cause for alarm as regards the total budget profile of the country which put at $85.390bn or N26trillion as at September 2019. According to her, though the country total debt stock as at 2006 when she exited the Paris and London Club of Creditors was $17.349 million but yearly deficit budgeting and poor revenue generation, forced the country into taking loan thereafter which accumulated to N26trillion as at September last year. “Concerns have been expressed about the growth in Nigeria’s debt stock since the exit from the Paris and London Club creditors. It is true that the Public Debt Stock since has grown from US$17,349.69million in 2006 to USD85, 390.82 million as of September 30, 2019. “However, it must be recognized that the current Debt Stock is the result of cumulative borrowings by successive Governments to finance budget deficits and various Infrastructure Projects, “she said. She explained further that in order to ensure that the public debt is sustainable, the 56% advised by the WB and IMF.

The total public debt to GDP according to her has remained within the 25% limit and stood at 18.47% in September 2019. “this is, however, only one measure of debt sustainability, the other equally important measure of debt service to revenue ratio has been high at over 50% since the year 2015 although it dropped to 51% in 2018 from 57% in 2017. “The relatively high debt service4 to revenue ratio is the result of lower revenues and higher debt service figures. “Whilst, Nigeria’s debt is sustainable, recent development in the global environment induced by COVID 19, already suggest a less than favourable economic outlook with implications for Nigeria”, she added. Earlier in his opening remarks, the director-general of NILDS, Professor Abubakar Suleiman, said the objective of the public lecture was to educate and build the capacity of participants, especially members and relevant committees of the national assembly.

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