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Nigeria’s Debt Hits N87tn, Jumps By 75% In 3 Months

The Debt Management Office has reported that Nigeria’s overall public debt reached N87.38tn by the conclusion of the second quarter in 2023, marking a significant 75.29% increase, equivalent to N37.53tn, when compared to the N49.85tn recorded at the end of March 2023.

In their report released on Thursday, the DMO clarified that this debt encompasses the N22.71tn in Ways and Means Advances provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government.

The DMO stated, “Nigeria’s total public debt stock as at June 30, 2023, was N87.38tn ($113.42bn). It comprises the total domestic and external debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the thirty-six states, and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The major addition to the Public Debt Stock was the inclusion of the N22.712tn securitized FGN’s Ways and Means Advances.”

The statement also highlighted that the increase in the debt stock resulted from additional borrowing by both the Federal Government and sub-national entities, sourced locally and externally.

It added, “The reforms already introduced by the present administration and those that may emerge from the recommendations of the Fiscal Reform and Tax Policies Committee, are expected to impact debt strategy and improve debt sustainability.”

The DMO had previously estimated that Nigeria’s public debt could reach N77tn after the National Assembly approved the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to restructure the CBN’s Ways and Means Advances, a loan facility used by the CBN to cover government budget shortfalls. Patience Oniha, the Director-General of the DMO, mentioned during a public presentation of the 2023 budget organized by the former Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, that the debt would have amounted to N70tn without N5tn in new borrowing and N2tn in promissory notes.

However, the most recent data reveals that the current debt stands at N87.38tn, surpassing the DMO’s projection by N10.38tn. A more detailed breakdown indicates that Nigeria has a total domestic debt of N54.13tn and a total external debt of N33.25tn. Domestic debt accounts for 61.95% of the total debt, while external debt makes up 38.05%.

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