The total Public Debt Stock as at June 30, 2015 when president Muhammadu Buhari took over from the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was $63.81 billion, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.
The DMO said in a statement yesterday that the nominal increase in the public debt stock between June 30, 2015 ($63.81bn) and June 30, 2019 ($83.88bn), was about $20.0bn. These are contrary to the claims made by the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafiya recently that the public debt stock increased by $77.0bn during the period under review.
The Public Debt Stock data published by the DMO comprises debt of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It is therefore, erroneous to attribute the growth in the Public Debt Stock to borrowings by the FGN only, the DMO said
“While the Public Debt Stock has increased, the increase is well guided by the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, 2016 – 2019. New Borrowing was included as one of the strategies in the ERGP to be deployed in the near term, to stimulate economic growth and job creation’’, the statement added.
The debt office said with the deployment of more funds into capital projects, the borrowings contributed to job creation and the recovery from economic recession in June 2017. The introduction of project-tied financing products (Sukuk and Green Bonds) in the second half of 2017 as part of the New Borrowing also supported infrastructural development.
“By international benchmarks, Nigeria’s Total Public Debt relative to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is sustainable at 18.99 percent of GDP as at June 30, 2019. However, the Government recognises that the ratio of its Debt Service to Revenue is rather high, a situation that is directly attributable to Nigeria’s low Revenues’’, it said.