Nigeria: Fact-Check - How Accurate Is Osinbajo's Claim On Nigeria's Debt Profile

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28 October 2018

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, October 27, said Nigeria's debt was $73 billion, a $10 billion increase from $63 billion the present administration inherited in 2015.

He made the disclosure in Ibadan on Saturday during the 9th Public Lecture of Sigma Club at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.

THE CLAIM

"In 2010 our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018.

"The nation's debt as at today was $73 billion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015,"

VERIFICATION OF CLAIM

To verify the claim, PREMIUM TIMES and Dubawa, used data from the Debt Management Office (DMO), the agency officially responsible for managing Nigeria's debt.

According to the DMO, as at June 2015, the external debt of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the 36 states was $10.316 billion; domestic debt (FGN only) was $42.633 billion while domestic debt of states was $10.856 billion. These give a total public debt of $63.806 billion as at June 2015.

Also, according to the same document from Debt Management Office, the total public debt as at June 2018 stood at $73.207 billion with breakdown as follows: federal government and the 36 states owed $22.083 billion, domestic debt (FGN Only) was $39.749 billion and total domestic debt of states and the FCT stood at $11.374 billion.

Further analysis of Nigeria's debt also revealed that in 2012, Nigeria's debt was $48.496 billion; in 2013, it was $64.509 billion; in 2014, it was $67.726 billion; in 2016, it stood at $57.391 billion; and as at December 31, 2017, the total debt was $70.999 Billion

These official figures tally with those quoted by the vice president who said "In 2010 our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018."

There was no available record on the website of the Debt Management Office for 2010 and 2011; so it is difficult to verify Mr Osinbajo's debt figures for those two years.

However, going by available data on public debt from 2012 till date, the total debt of the country in 2015 was $63.806 billion while the current debt figure as at June 2018 stood at $73.207 billion. Both are same as the figures quoted by the vice president on Saturday.

Therefore, the claim by the vice president that the Buhari administration has increased the nation's debt by $10 billion from $63 billion it inherited in 2015 is TRUE.

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