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Nigeria Can Repay Its N35.5trn Debt, FG Tells IMF

Oluwasina Phillip

The Debt Management Office has faulted the position of the International Monetary Fund on Nigeria’s debt level.

The IMF has stated that Nigeria may spend 92.6 percent of its revenue on debt servicing in 2022.

The IMF’s projection is contained in its recently released 2021 Article IV consultation report on Nigeria.

Agusto and Co, a credit rating agency, also forecasted that debt servicing figure could rise to 90 per cent.

But reacting, the DMO admitted that while debt levels and debt service levels have grown over the years, the Federal Government has taken steps aimed at increasing revenues.

It said, “The Debt Management Office (DMO), in a comment on the recent reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Agusto and Co. on Nigeria’s Debt Service, stated that Debt levels and Debt Service levels have grown over the years.

“However, while this may be the case, these reports have failed to consider the challenges experienced by Nigeria in recent times such as two recessions, sharp drop in Revenues and security challenges.

“Even more, the analysis do not acknowledge the improvements in infrastructure which have been achieved through borrowing, as well as, the strong measures by the Government to grow Revenues.

“The DMO re-iterated the fact that the Government is already implementing policies towards increasing revenues and developing infrastructure through Public Private Partnership arrangements, both of which will improve debt sustainability.

“The DMO also noted that the Government has active and regular engagements with the IMF on borrowing and debt management.”

The country’s debt had risen to N35.5trn, unemployment at 33.3 per cent, while inflation is at 15.4 per cent.

The government has consistently denied experts view that suggests the country is facing debt problem.

Minister of finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed had repeatedly said that Nigeria’s debt is still within the Fiscal Responsibility Act and that the country is only facing a revenue problem.

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