Debt Service Gulps N1.99tn in Nine Months

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By Ndubuisi Francis

Nigeria expended about N1.99 trillion on servicing domestic and external debts between January and September 2020, according to statistics from the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Domestic debt instruments, which attracted the servicing during the reference period were Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs), Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, and Federal Government of Nigeria Savings Bonds (FGNSB).

Others are FGN Sukuk Rentals, Green Bonds and Treasury Bonds.

External debt service also involved multilateral and bilateral agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Arab Bank for Economic Development, Exim Bank of China and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), among others.

A breakdown shows that domestic debt service gulped a total of N1.53 trillion while $1.27 billion or N467.44 billion was expended on external debt service payments.

In the first quarter of 2020, domestic debt service gulped N609.13 trillion while the second and third quarters gulped N312.81 billion and N604.19 billion respectively.

Conversely, external debt service payments during the review period stood at $472.57 million (N170.60 billion); $287.04 million (N103.62 billion), and $507.15 million (N193.22 billion) in the first, second and third quarters of 2020 respectively, using the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official exchange rate of N361/$ for the first and second quarters while N381/$1 was used in the third quarter.

Nigeria spends about 60 per cent of its revenue on debt service, a situation that has generated concerns within and outside the country.

Nigeria plans to spend at least 24 per cent (N3.324 trillion) of its N13.5 trillion ($35.7 billion) 2021 Budget on debt servicing.

It will raise an additional N4.28 trillion in new borrowings to fund the budget, which has a recurrent expenditure component of N5.64 trillion, capital expenditure of N4.125 trillion and N496.528 billion in statutory transfer.

Going by the latest statistics released last Thursday by the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s total public debt stock, which comprises the debt stock of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), climbed from N31.009 trillion as of June 30, 2020 to N32.223 trillion ($84.574 billion) by September 30, 2020.

This translates to a growth of N1.214 trillion or 3.91 per cent increase in the nation’s debt portfolio.