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Nigeria doesn’t have a debt problem, says Zainab Ahmed

Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, says Nigeria does not have a debt problem, rather a revenue problem.

As of December 2018, Nigeria’s debt profile was N24.387tn. It rose by 12. 25 percent from N21.752tn in 2017. And the country’s external debt alone rose to $11.77bn in three years.

Speaking with the management staff of the ministry of budget and national planning on Monday, the minister said Nigeria’s debt is not too high and that the government is looking at increasing revenue performance from 55 percent to 85 percent.

“I want to restate that our debt is not too high; what we have is a revenue problem,” she said.

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“Our debt is still very much within a reasonable fiscal limit. In fact, amongst our comparative countries, we are the least in terms of borrowing.”

“If we don’t do that we will continue to suffer significantly in our capacity to service the national budget.”

Zainab told the staff that the ministry has its work cut out for it and that there will be consequences for non-performance.

““It is a very big work that Mr President has given to us. It is not myself and the minister of state that will do the work; it is you that will do it. All we are providing is leadership and the enabling environment for you to deliver on the task,” she said.

“Within this week, we will be getting our directives on what we need to achieve. We are going to sign up on these directives and we are going to be held responsible for the delivery of the directives.

“There will be consequences, not just on the ministers but on the permanent secretaries and the directors.”

The minister added that the anti-corruption fight continues, and that the TSA, IPPIS are tools that they can use to track corruption in the budget process.