Ways and means securitisation responsible for N24trn debt rise – DMO

Tue, Jun 25, 2024
By editor
3 MIN READ

Economy

THE Debt Management Office, says the rise in Nigeria’s public debt stock from N97.34 trillion in December, 2023 to N121.67 trillion in March is partly due to exchange rate fluctuations.

The Director-General of DMO, Patience Oniha, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

She was clarifying misconceptions about the recently released update of the country’s total debt profile.

She said that the securitisation of N4.90 trillion as part of the securitisation of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances approved by the National Assembly was also responsible for the N24.33 trillion increase in the debt stock.

According to her, there is also the interest rate, as well as new borrowing of N2.81 trillion as part of the N6.06 trillion provided in the 2024 budget.

She, however, emphasised that the debt stock included the domestic and external debt stock of the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The total public debt as at March 31, showed that the total public debt in Naira terms stood at N121.67 trillion compared to N97.34 trillion as at December 31, 2023.

“While detailed information was provided on the data such as the split between external and domestic debt as well as the fact that the debt stock includes the domestic and external debt stock of the 36 states and the FCT, it has become imperative to provide some explanations.

“It is important to recognise the fact that Nigeria has undergone some major reforms which have impacted economic indices such as the dollar/Naira exchange rate and interest rates.

“These two, in particular affect the debt stock and debt service,” she said.

Oniha said that the increase in Naira Terms of N24.33 trillion between the fourth quarter of 2023, and first quarter of 2024, did not strictly represent new borrowing.

She said that the total external debt stock was relatively flat at 42.50 billion dollars and 42.12 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2023, and first quarter of 2024 respectively.

“The Naira values were significantly different at N38.22 trillion and N56.02 trillion respectively, representing a difference of N17.8 trillion.

“This explains the perceived sharp increase of N24.33 trillion in the total debt stock in the first quarter of 2024.

“The difference in the exchange rate for the two periods also explains why in dollar terms, the total debt stock actually declined in the first quarter of 2024 to 91.46 billion dollars,” Oniha said.

She said that the debt report was somewhat an improvement from the past, before President Bola Tinubu government.

According to her, if you discount FX impact, the debt is moderate and within normal limit.

She urged the Federal Government to prioritise fiscal retrenchment, while assuring that the various measures to attract foreign exchange inflows would increase external reserves and support the Naira exchange rate. (NAN)

F.A
June 25, 2024

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