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Nigeria’s Public Debt hits N50tr

Emeka Okoroanyanwu

Nigeria’s debt stock has hit the N50 trillion mark, a release by the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said. The DMO said the county’s total public debt stock of Nigeria as at March was N49.95 trillion (108.30 billion dollars).

The total debt stock, according to the DMO, comprises the external and domestic debts of the Federal Government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The country’s total debt as at December 21, 2022 was N46.25 trillion, an increase of about three trillion Naira.

This, however, excludes the Federal Government’s N22.719 trillion Ways and Means Advances of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approved in May by the just disbanded 9th National Assembly.

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The DMO said the Ways and Means will be included in the debt stock of the Federal Government from June.

Ways and Means are money lent to the Federal Government by the CBN.

The Federal Government under the former President Muhammad Buhari resorted to borrowing from the CBN to execute most of its programmes including the payment of staff salaries and shoring up allocation to the states and Local Council Areas.

In another exercise, the DMO has released the Market Access Country-Debt Sustainability Analysis (MAC-DSA) to promote transparency.

The MAC-DSA is a World Bank/IMF tool for best practices in public debt management, which the DMO adopted and has implemented over the years.

According to the DMO, it is an annual exercise anchored by it, with the participation of key Federal government agencies.

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It listed such agencies to include the CBN, Budget Office of the Federation and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF). Others are the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

According to Patience Oniha, Director-General of the DMO, the recent DSA reports highlighted the need for more revenues to keep the public debt sustainable.

Oniha, according to NAN, said the recently released DSA report, which was for 2022, also emphasised the need for the government to grow revenues. She commended some of the recent policies of the present administration as capable of enhancing debt sustainability.

“Policies like the removal of subsidies to manage expenditure and the focus on revenue through the appointment of a Special Adviser to the President on Revenue were positive steps for public debt sustainability, ” Oniha said.