Nigeria’s public debt burden may hit N77tn if the National Assembly approves the request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to restructure the Ways and Means Advances.
Thee Ways and Means Advances is a loan facility through which the Central Bank of Nigeria finances the shortfalls in the government’s budget.
This is as the Federal Government spent N5.24tn servicing debts in 2022.
The Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha disclosed this on Wednesday during the public presentation of the 2023 budget organized by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed.
She, however, noted that the debt would be N70tn without N5tn new borrowing and N2tn promissory notes.
Oniha said, “The DMO released the figure for the country’s debt stock as at September, you don’t expect it to be significantly different from December. Secondly, there are a lot of discussions on the Ways and Means. In addition to the significant costs saving in loans service we would get by securitizing it.
“There is an element of transparency in the sense that it is now reflected in the public debt stock. Once it is passed by the National Assembly, it means we will be seeing that figure included in the public debt. You will see a significant increase in public debt to N77tn.”
She said while the debt is growing because there is new borrowing, revenue is receiving significant importance.
“Like DMO always says, you can’t talk about debt without talking about revenue. We need the two to work together,” she added.
The FG’s huge appetite for borrowing under the current regime had worsened the debt position as the country’s debt stock rose to N44.06tn as of September last year.
The DMO and the government had come under attacks from experts and key stakeholders in the economy over the country’s rising debt levels.