By Ugo Aliogo
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) have launched the Debt Management Roundtable to help Nigeria and West African Countries provide a pathway to fiscal sustainability.
Speaking during the launch, the Chief Executive Officer, NESG, Mr. ‘Laoye Jaiyeola said Nigeria’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has increased over the years.
He stated that Nigeria’s ability to service its debt was worrisome, especially given that about 83 percent of the country’s revenue is spent on debt servicing.
He said the Debt Management Roundtable would provide alternatives and recommendations that the government can apply to ensure that Nigeria’s debt is properly managed.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the NESG-OSIWA Debt Management Roundtable, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, said debt burden is not about the present, but the future and that debt and credit are not necessarily bad if properly managed.
He noted that some of the issues affecting debt management in West Africa are poor governance, transparency and use of improper strategies.
He said there was a need for collaboration with the private sector through social financing and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
According to him, the roundtable would help develop analytics that forms basis, fiscal consideration and sustainability, comparative analysis and help to champion advocacy.
The NESG Chief Economist, Dr. Olusegun Omisakin, explained that the roundtable would allow countries learn from each other and leverage on shared workable solutions.
He disclosed that resource management is a huge issue in West Africa as countries don’t determine the prices of produce, “and this leads to improper debt management.”
Members of the NESG-OSIWA Roundtable representing Francophone countries would be announced soon.