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Nigeria’s Debt Hits New All Time High

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CEM REPORT, FINANCE | Nigeria’s total public debt stock has reached a new all-time high of N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion as of December 2022.

The nation’s debt stock which consists of external and domestic debt stock of the Federal Government and 36 State Governments with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)  climbed by 17 per cent amounting to N6.69 trillion or $7.34 billion when compared to N39.56 trillion or $95.77 billion recorded as of the close of 2021.

The new figure is five per cent or N2.19 trillion higher than the N44.06 trillion recorded as of the close of Q3’22.


The latest debt stock figure is contained in a statement issued by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

The report states that in terms of composition, total Domestic Debt Stock was N27.55 trillion (USD 61.42 billion) while Total External Debt Stock was N18.70 trillion or 41.69 billion which is 40.4 per cent of the composite figure converted at N432.37/$, which is close to N30 markdown of the current N460 a dollar trades at the Investors’ and Exporters’ (I&E) window.

The DMO stated that the country’s debt to gross domestic (GDP) ratio stands at 23.2 per cent indicative of a slight increase from the 22.47 percent recorded for December 31, 2021.

Although the recorded figure is within the 40 percent limit self-imposed by Nigeria, the 55 percent limit recommended by the World Bank/International Monetary Fund, and, the 70 percent limit recommended by the Economic Community of West African States, the DMO said.

The Director-General of DMO, Patience Oniha, while addressing journalists said the increased public debt included new borrowings by both the Federal and State Governments.

Specifically, she stated that new borrowings by the FGN and sub-national governments, primarily to fund budget deficits and execute projects. The issuance of promissory notes by the FGN to settle some liabilities also contributed to the growth in the debt stock.

She added that “on-going efforts by the Government to increase revenues from oil and non-oil sources through initiatives such as the Finance Acts and the Strategic Revenue Mobilization initiative are expected to support debt sustainability.”

However, there are concerns about the rising debt service-to-revenue ratio, which exceeded 80 per cent for the first time last year

Last quarter, the government incurred a total of N4.97 trillion as the cost of servicing both external and domestic debt, data obtained from the DMO showed.

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It is worth noting that the disclosed amount discounts the net debt accumulation of most of the states, whose records were last updated on June 30, September 30, 2022, or as far back as 2021.

Also, that the debt office said that, information on domestic debts incurred by 31 states, in the last quarter of 2022, had not been captured.

The incomplete disclosure from states suggests that the actual amount could be higher than what is declared publicly.

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