Nigeria’s Debts Hit $22b

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Nigeria’s external debt stock has hit $22billion, the Debt Management Office (DMO) announced yesterday.

According to DMO, Out of the amount, the Federal Government’s quotient is $17.8 billion, while the combined debt portfolio by the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stands at $4.28 billion.

Of the combined states’ figure, Lagos State, the commercial nerve-centre of Nigeria, has the highest foreign portfolio of $1.45 billion, or 33.88 per cent of the states’ debts.

The debt status from the DMO, the News Agency of Nigeria said, were as a June 30, 2018. Going by the data, the Federal Government accounts for 81 per cent of the country’s external debt, while the states and the FCT account for 19 per cent.

Following Lagos in that sequence is Edo State which stands at a distant second with external debt of $279 million.

Others are Kaduna, $232.9 million; Cross River, $193.7 million; Bauchi, $134.9 million and Enugu, $127.9 million.

The DMO listed other debtor states as Anambra which is owing $107.4 million; Oyo, $106.34 million; Ogun, $105.3 million; Osun, $101.5 million and Abia, $100.2 million.

Others are Ekiti with a debt overhang of $97.9 million; Ondo $81.4 million; Rivers, $79.5 million; Ebonyi, $67.9 million; Kano, $65 million; Katsina, $64.7 million and Delta, $63.8 million.

The DMO added that Imo incurred a debt of $61.2 million; Nassarawa, $61.4 million; Adamawa, $57.8 million; Niger, $55.7 million; and Bayelsa $57.2 million. Also, in the foreign debt conundrum are Akwa Ibom with $48.3 million; Kebbi, $46.7 million; Kwara, $49.8 million and Sokoto $40.2 million.

At the tail end of the debt profile are Taraba, with $22.1 million; Borno, $22.2 million; Yobe, with $28.4 million and Plateau with $29.6 million.

Others are Kogi, with 32.37 million dollars; Jigawa, 32.80 million dollars; FCT, 32.83 million dollars; Zamfara, 34.2 million dollars; Benue, 34.7 million dollars and Gombe, 38.5 million dollars.

The Director-General of DMO, Ms. Patience Oniha, said as at June 30, the nation’s public debt stock increased marginally by 3.01 per cent from that of December, 2017.

“One of the beneficial outcomes is the rebalancing of the debt stock, the ratio of domestic debt to external debt inching towards the target of 60:40 and the target of 75:25 between long term domestic debt and short-term domestic debt.

According to the figures for June 30 released by the DMO, the ratio between domestic and external debt stood at 70 to 30 compared to 73 to 27 in December, 2017.

Ms.Oniha said the ratio of 60 to 40 was important to ensure that the nation was not 100 per cent indebted externally, and that it was also easier to raise money domestically.

She disclosed that the Federal Government has been borrowing from the external debt market to refinance maturing local debts because of the lower interest rates obtainable from foreign sources.

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