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FG, states debt make up the N121.67 trillion – Oniha



FG, states, debt make up the N121.67 trillion - Oniha

The Debt Management Office (DMO) said not only federal borrowings but also state debts and exchange rate fluctuation were responsible for the N121.67 trillion debt of the country.


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


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


She said that the securitization of N4.90 trillion as part of the securitization 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 and new borrowing of N2.81 trillion as part of the N6.06 trillion provided in the 2024 budget.


She, however, emphasized 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 recognize 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.


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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.