Nigeria’s total debt stock rises to N24.9 trn in first quarter of 2019

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… Atiku raises alarm over debt profile, says Buhari Increased debt by ₦560bn in 3 months

Nigeria’s total public debt rose to N24.947 trillion as at March 31, from N24.387 trillion as at December 31, 2018, growing marginally by 2.30 per cent, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.

A statement issued by the office on Wednesday in Abuja, said the debt stock comprises of domestic and external debts of the federal government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It said that the debt which rose by N560 billion was accounted for largely by domestic debt which grew by N458.36 billion, while external debt also increased by N101.64 billion during the same period.

“In relation to the Debt Management Strategy, the ratio of domestic to external debt stood at 68.49 per cent to 31.51 per cent at the end of March.

“The total public debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was 19.03 per cent which is within the 25 per cent debt limit imposed by the government.”

The debt portfolio which was obtained from the DMO website showed that the federal government presently owes N13.1 trillion domestically, while the states and the FCT owe N3.97 trillion.

However, the external debt of the federal government, states and the FCT stood at N7.8 trillion.

According to the states’ debt profile data released by DMO, Lagos recorded the highest domestic debt of N542.2 billion, followed by Rivers with N225.5 billion, Delta N223.4 billion and Akwa Ibom with N199.7 billion.

On the lowest rung are Yobe with N26.9 billion, Anambra N33.4 billion, Sokoto N36.5 billion, Jigawa N38.2 billion and Niger with N43.4 billion.

The data showed that Anambra, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Lagos profiles as at December 31, 2018, indicated that they had not incurred any domestic debt in 2019.

Meanwhile, that of Rivers was at September 30, 2018

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday raised the alarm over the nation’s debt profile, saying President Muhammadu Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to the national debt profile within three months.

Expressing concern over this development, Atiku said that the situation is now at the stage where all genuine lovers of Nigeria ought to raise an alarm.

He noted that between December 2018 and March 2019, President Buhari’s administration increased the nation’s debt profile by ₦560 billion.

Atiku, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said that President Buhari increased the debt profile from ₦12 trillion to ₦24.3 trillion within four years.

He said: “On May 29, 2015, our national debt profile was at a very healthy ₦12 trillion. However, after four years of profligate spending, and even more irresponsible borrowing, our national debt doubled to ₦24.3 trillion by December, 2018.

“As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile.”

Atiku noted that the money was used for the 2019 election, adding, “what could this junta have needed that amount for? If you take those dates into account, they fall on the period of electioneering, when monies were freely distributed by officials of this government in the name of Tradermoni and other election gimmicks that were discontinued after the election.

“We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out of school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.

“As someone who headed the National Economic Council that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing.

“We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries.  Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments.”

The former Vice President added that “we raise this alarm as responsible citizens and call on other lovers of Nigeria to speak up as we have no other nation to call our home, but Nigeria.”

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