Nigeria’s National Debt Valued At N35.465 Trillion

Ms. Patience Oniha, Director-General of the Debt Management Office, DMO, revealed yesterday that the country’s public debt stock stood at N35.465 trillion as of June 30.

Oniha, in a virtual media chat yesterday, said the country risked the debt sustainability issue if it failed to grow the current low revenue profile, which places the country in the poorest category among its peers.

“We should focus on revenue. The good thing about it is that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning has started a programme aimed at growing the revenue profile. We must discipline ourselves to follow through to grow our revenue. If we continue to borrow and do nothing about growing our revenue base as other countries have done, we may have a debt sustainability challenge,” she said.

As of March 31, 2021, Nigeria’s total public debt stock was N33.107 trillion, or USD87.239 billion.

Between the end of the first quarter and the end of the second quarter, the debt stock increased by N2.358 trillion.

Rising debt could be a problem

According to Vanguard, the DG explained that the issues of rising debt, high debt service to revenue ratio and utilization of borrowed funds were germane.

She said that members of the public should not lose sight of the facts which necessitated borrowing which included: “Huge Infrastructure Deficit, Recession (twice in the last six years), Consecutive Budget Deficits, Low Revenue Base, compounded by dependence on one source – crude oil – which prices crashed and at a point, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic had no buyers.”

Ms. Oniha stressed that Nigerians must challenge themselves and support the federal government on the need to raise revenue.

She noted that the 5% tax as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was too poor for Nigeria and that concerted efforts must be made to increase the nation’s revenue.