Nigeria's total debt profile increased by 25 per cent to N21.7 trillion at the end of December 2017, the Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed yesterday.
The nation's public debt was N17.36 trillion at the end of 2016. The director-general, DMO, Ms Patience Oniha, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday.
The figures showed that domestic debt for the federal government stood at N12.589 trillion, while domestic debt of States and the FCT was N3.348 trillion. The external debt of the federal government, States and the FCT according to the DMO, was N5.787 trillion. The total public debt as at December 31, 2017 was N21.725 trillion. Also, the total public debt as at December 31, 2017 represents 18.20 per cent of Nigeria's GDP for 2017. "This shows that Nigeria's debt continues to be sustainable and well within the threshold of 56 per cent for countries in Nigeria's peer group," Oniha said.
According to the DMO, the borrowings were for financing capital expenditure and stimulating the economy. The funds injected through the borrowings strongly supported the implementation of the federal government's budget which helped the country to exit recession in 2017. The debt office said the federal government had adopted a new Debt Management Strategy, which has the objective of reducing the ratio of domestic debt in the portfolio, while the ratio of external debt increased - with a target of 60 per cent domestic and 40 per cent external. It also stated that the composition of the debt stock as at the end of 2017 showed that external debt was 26.64 per cent of the portfolio, up from 20.04 per cent in 2016, while domestic debt was 73.36 per cent, down from 79.96 per cent in 2016.
The debt office said that the federal government has commenced moves to raise $2.5 billion through issuance of Eurobonds in the first quarter of 2018 alone to refinance domestic debt. "The DMO repaid N198 billion Nigerian Treasury Bills in December 2017 with the proceeds of Eurobond issuances and the DMO has continued further implementation of the strategy in 2018, with the issuance of the USD2.5 billion Eurobonds in February 2018, the proceeds of which is being used to repay maturing domestic debt, starting with N130 billion NTBs repaid on March 1, 2018," it said yesterday. Also speaking at the briefing, director, portfolio management Office, Oladele Afolabi said the borrowings were for financing capital expenditure and stimulating the economic.