Presidency Clarifies Reports on Nigeria’s Recent Debt Profile Released by DMO

The Presidency has responded to reports of Nigeria’s total public debt reaching ₦121.67 trillion ($91.46 billion), clarifying that the debt burden is not solely on the federal government.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s debt increased by ₦24.33 trillion in three months, from ₦97.34 trillion ($108.23 billion) in December 2023 to ₦121.67 trillion ($91.46 billion) as of March 2023.

The DMO reported that total domestic debt stood at ₦65.65 trillion ($46.29 billion), while total external debt was ₦56.02 trillion ($42.12 billion).

However, in a statement on Friday, President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Social Media, Dada Olusegun, explained that the debt represents borrowings by the federal government, 36 state governments, and the Federal Capital Territory.

He noted that the total debt decreased by $16.77 billion (18.34%) in dollar terms, attributing the increase to naira depreciation and a high exchange rate.

The DMO used an official exchange rate of ₦1,330/$ to convert external debts to naira, compared to ₦899.39 used in December 2023.

The Presidency also highlighted the securitization of a portion of the ₦7.3 trillion Ways and Means advances at the Central Bank of Nigeria as one of the factors influencing the increasing debt profile.

Recall that President Tinubu had in 2023 vowed to reduce the country’s reliance on borrowing and debt servicing, which currently consumes 90% of government revenue.

The President said, “Can we continue to service external debts with 90% of our revenue? It is a path to destruction. It is not sustainable. We must make the very difficult changes that are necessary for our country to get up from slumber and be respected among the great nations of the world.”

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