Buhari May Hand Over N77trn Debt To Incoming Administration On May 29
President Muhammadu Buhari may hand over a whopping debt burden of N77trn to the incoming administration when he leaves office on May 29, this year.
The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha disclosed this on Wednesday during the public presentation of the 2023 budget by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
Oniha was responding to a question from journalists on what would be the quantum of debt when the President eventually hand over by May 29, this year.
The federal government’s huge appetite for borrowing under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had worsened the debt position as the country’s debt stock rose to N44.6tn as of the end of September this year.
The Debt Management Office and the Minister of Finance had come under series of attacks from experts and key stakeholders in the economy on the country’s rising debt levels.
Nigeria’s debt service to Gross Domestic Product ratio had hit 73 per cent based on figures released by the Finance Ministry in October last year.
But despite the fact that Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is one of the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, senior government officials still maintained that the country’s debt profile is still within sustainable limit.
But responding to the question on what the debt profile would be by May this year, Oniha said, “The DMO released the figure for the country’s debt stock as at September, you don’t expect it to be significantly deferent from December.
“Secondly, there are a lot of discussions on the Ways and Means. In addition to the significant costs saving in loans service we would get by securitizing it.
“There is an element of transparency in the sense that it is now reflected in the public debt stock. Once it is passed by the National Assembly, it means we will be seeing that figure included in the public debt. You will see significant increase in public debt to N77trn.
“So, if you add the new borrowing depending on market conditions N5trn. So looking anywhere, it will be about N72trn.
“The other are of the debt stock we are trying to highlight is to say the debt stock is also growing from the issuance of promissory notes which are not true borrowing as such by the government. It will be safe to say that we will be looking at N70trn.”
She said while the debt is growing because there is new borrowing, revenue is receiving significant importance.
“Like DMO always says, you can’t talk about debt without talking about revenue. We need the two to work together,” she added.