Nigeria’s Debt Profile May Hit $25bn In 2015

The Nigerian Debt Management Office gave an indication on Tuesday that the country’s total debt profile might hit $25bn by 2015.
The figure covers both local and foreign borrowing.

The Director-General of the DMO, Mr. Abraham Nwankwo, had met with the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Finance/Legislative Budget and Research/National Planning and Aid, Loans and Debt Management in Abuja to discuss the 2013-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy, which President Goodluck Jonathan sent to the National Assembly last month.

Nwankwo, who made a presentation to the committee, stated that external debt for this year stood at $9bn, while the figure would jump to $12.1bn in 2013.

The document showed that the projected debt for 2014 would be $14.5bn and $16.7bn in 2015.

Locally, the country would owe $6.48bn in 2012; $7.1bn in 2013; $7.7bn in 2014 and $8.4bn in 2015.

Members of the committee were alarmed by the growing debt profile of the country.

The Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, for instance, expressed concern that Nigeria was borrowing without hesitation.

He said, “We are aggressively borrowing in such a manner that the private sector is being stifled as the government is now the only big spender in the economy.

“The private sector cannot access funds domestically, they cannot create jobs.”

Some members observed that while the debt profile was rising, there was no evidence of how Nigeria spent the money it borrowed.

But Nwankwo countered, saying,”Every country in the world borrows, even the most financially prudent countries like Germany and the US.”

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Abdulmunimi Jibrin, granted the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, up to Wednesday (today) to appear before the committee to discuss the MTEF.

Sanusi had twice failed to appear before the committee in person, preferring to send representatives.

The committee noted that the MTEF as presented by the President was not realistic and insisted that government agencies in charge of managing the economy must convince the House on why it should approve the document.

News Source: Punch
Nigeria 4246799379267194418

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