Nigeria’s Debt Rises By N24.33tn In Three Months

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Nigeria’s total debt stock rose by N24.33 trillion in the first quarter of 2023 to N121.67 trillion from N97.34 trillion as of December 2023, according to data from the Debt Management Office.

In a statement on Thursday, the office disclosed that the total public debt comprises debt from the total domestic and external debts of the Federal Government, the thirty-six state governments, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Total domestic debt rose to N65.65 trillion ($46.29 billion), while total external debt was N56.02 trillion ($42.12 billion).

It highlighted that excluding naira exchange rate movements in Q1 2024, only the domestic debt component of total public debt grew from N59.12 trillion on December 31, 2023, to N65.65 trillion on March 31, 2024. “The increase was from new borrowing to part-finance the 2024 Budget deficit and securitisation of a portion of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances at the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.

It highlighted that while borrowing, as provided in the 2024 Appropriation Act, will continue, it “expects improvements in the Government’s Revenue to enhance debt sustainability.”

A breakdown of the domestic debt profile revealed that the country’s FGN bonds grew by N4.16 trillion to N48.42 trillion, treasury bills grew by N3.92 trillion to N10.44 trillion, FGN savings bonds grew by N4.69 billion to N43.88 billion, and promissory notes grew by N240.22 billion to N1.57 trillion.

While the dollar component of Nigeria’s external loans fell to $42.12 billion from $42.49 billion, its naira equivalent rose drastically to N56.03 trillion (at N1,330.26/$ as of March 2024) from N38.22 trillion (at N899.39/$ as of December 2023).

While Nigeria’s total debt has risen in naira terms, it has fallen by $16.77 billion to $91.46 billion from $108.23 billion. In the 2024 approved budget, the Federal Government has a deficit of N9.18 trillion, to be partially financed by N7.83 trillion in new borrowings.

Recently, Patience Oniha, the director general of DMO, revealed that the Federal Government has raised N4.5 trillion out of its N6 trillion target in the 2024 budget.