Nigeria’s debt profile now N25.7 trn

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The total debt profile of Nigeria now stands at N25.7 trillion, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).

While addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Public Account on Friday in Abuja, the Director-General of the office, Ms Patience Oniha gave the revelation.

According to the DG, “As at June 2019, our debt profile is at N25.7 trillion; this includes the federal, states governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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“We call it the total public debt, out of this total, the Federal Government is responsible for 80 per cent of the debt,” she said.

Oniha said that external borrowing accounted for about 32 per cent of the total debt while the 68 per cent was domestic.

She explained that the DMO was an agency of government which began operations in 2000 following the country debt management problems of the country which led to the debt relief.

Oniha said that the agency was responsible for the management of public debts and its mandate includes contracting debts on behalf of the Federal Government.

According to the director-general, this is clear under the Fiscal Responsibility Act and provisions in the DMO Act.

“If you look back several years, over 85 per cent of budget deficits are funded by borrowing which the DMO undertakes as approved by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly.

“We borrow from various sources, the multilaterals, the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the African Development Bank, China Exim and we also issue products in the international market.

“Locally, we are also very active in domestic borrowing, we issue treasury bills, Federal Government treasure bonds,” she said.

Oniha said that DMO also serves as an advisory body for the Federal Government on debt management and to put debt at 25 per cent ratio to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that the agency did not receive any amount borrowed, saying that it was paid directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which ensured that the money was used for what was borrowed for.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Wole Oke (PDP-Osun), said that it was important for parliament to have all the relevant information documented.

He said that the parliament needed additional facts and figures following the Minister of Finance revelations during 2020 budget defence that revenue generation was a challenge in the country.

The lawmaker said that the committee was determined to check Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and to avert abuse of the law in the area of remittances of revenues generated.

Oke said that even when the MDAs had powers to spend revenue generated, the committee was determined to ensure transparency and accountability.

“This country belongs to all of us, irrespective of the three arms the Constitution recognises, those in the Executives, Legislature and Judiciary are all Nigerians.

“We have to synergise to ensure that this country progresses,” One said.

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