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Government borrowing sustainable, says DMO boss

Contrary to the anguish being expressed in some quarters over the country’s rising debt stocks, the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha has assured that there is no cause for alarm as the current borrowing is within manageable limits.

Oniha gave this assurance recently at the 4th National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion roundtable organised by Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research (CEPDeR) at the Covenant University.

The summit tagged, ‘National Budgeting for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development in Nigeria’ had in attendance scholars, policy makers, researchers, civil society groups, and others.

According to her, government borrowing is not necessarily a ‘bad thing’ as IMF states that “borrowing can enable countries to finance important development projects and programmes. Governments across the world borrow and debt levels have been on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While noting that Nigeria is not peculiar, the DMO boss noted that sustainable development requires a combination of fiscal and monetary policy actions that will ultimately involve structural reforms.

Such reforms, she stressed, “Will lead to increased national productivity, higher exports, improved infrastructure (physical and social), better security, low to moderate level of inflation and stable to predictable exchange rates.

“The Nigerian government has successfully utilised borrowing as a tool for economic recovery to bring the economy out of cycles of recessions, first in 2017 and second in 2021.

“Government borrowing can also support other sectors of the economy that attract foreign investors and have multiplier effects on the country,” she maintained.

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