Nigeria’s public debt could rise to N72 trillion, from the N44 trillion reported as of September 2022, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has disclosed.
According to the Director-General of the debt office, Patience Oniha, the country’s debt stock is a cause for concern, as the Federal Government plans for more borrows.
To implement the N21.83 trillion budget for 2023, the government plans to approach domestic and international markets to borrow N8.8 trillion loan.
It was gathered that the cost of debt service, current debt stock, new borrowings for the 2023 budget, CBN’s N23.7 trillion loan to the government (which has not been included in the total debt stock as of September last year), and issuance of Promissory Notes will raise the debt to about N72 trillion.
Oniha disclosed this on Wednesday during a public presentation to break down the highlights of the 2023 Appropriation Act in Abuja.
She told Nigerians that depending on the market condition, the total debt stock, which includes FG, State governments, and Local Governments’ borrowing, will rise to N72 trillion in June this year.
“So, if you add the new borrowing, again, the budget is for the full year, it’s not like we are tying the new borrowing in the budget to be raised before the end of this administration.
“Certainly, some part of that could be done; give or take – depending on market conditions – N5 trillion. So, we are looking at about N72 trillion at about June; again, depending on market conditions,” Oniha said at the public presentation.
Although if the September 2022 debt is added to the N8.8 trillion Buhari plans to borrow to finance the 2023 budget and the N23.7 trillion CBN loan, the total debt stock will be above N75 trillion (excluding the yet-to-be-released fourth quarter borrowings of 2022.
Note that Oniha had said that much wasn’t borrowed in 2022, stating: “When the last quarter borrowing figure is released, it won’t be significantly different from the public debt as at September 2022.”
Meanwhile, note that President Muhammadu Buhari has been urging the National Assembly to approve his request to restructure the loan from the central bank into bond, in order to reduce the interest payment.
He had stated that N1.8 trillion will be paid to the financial regulator if the National Assembly doesn’t restructure the N23.7 trillion loan.
The lawmakers had previously turned down his request, with some members of the upper legislative room stating that President Buhari and the CBN governor, breached the CBN Act of 2007.