The Debt Management Office has released Nigeria’s Public Debt Stock as at March 31, 2021.
According to DMO, the Total Public Debt Stock which comprises of the Debt Stock of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 36 State Governments and the Federal Capital Territory stood at N33.107trn or $87.239bn.
The Debt Stock also includes Promissory Notes in the sum of N940.22bn issued to settle the inherited arrears of the Federal Government to State Governments, Oil Marketing Companies, Exporters and Local Contractors.
Compared to the Total Public Debt Stock of N32.916trn as at December 31, 2020, the increase in the Debt Stock was marginal at 0.58 per cent.
Further analysis of the Public Debt Stock, showed that the increase was in the Domestic Debt Stock, which grew by 2.11 per cent from N20.21trn in December 2020 to N20.637trn as at March 31, 2021.
The Federal Government’s share of the Domestic Debt includes FGN Bonds, Sukuk and Green Bonds used to finance infrastructure and other capital projects as well as the N940.22bn Promissory Notes.
External Debt Stock declined from $33.348bn as at December 31, 2020 to $32.86bn due to the redemption by Nigeria of the $500m Eurobond in January 2021.
The debt accumulation is coming at a time when key government officials in the Economic Management Team had repeatedly defended the country’s debt level arguing that it is still within sustainable limit.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed had insisted that Nigeria does not have a debt problem.
She said what the government needed to do is to increase it’s revenue generating capacity in order to boost revenue to about 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
The finance minister had said, “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. Its 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.”
But the finance minister’s position differs with that of some economic experts who said that the huge borrowings portend danger for the economy.