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Nigeria’s Ever Growing Debt Profile: A Cause for Concern



Nigeria's Ever Growing Debt Profile: A Cause for Concern.
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Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the largest economy on the continent, is facing an alarming issue that threatens its financial stability and future prospects. The country’s debt profile has been growing at an alarming rate, raising concerns among economists and citizens alike.

In recent years, Nigeria’s borrowing has skyrocketed, driven by the need to fund infrastructure development, social programs, and manage budget deficits. The country’s debt profile, which stood at a manageable level a decade ago, has now ballooned to unprecedented levels, surpassing N87.38 trillion (US$113.42 billion) according to the National Bureau of statistics in its second quarter of 2023, report.

The bureau, in its Nigerian domestic and foreign debt Q2 2023 report released recently, said Nigeria’s public debt stock which includes external and domestic debt rose to N87.38 trillion (US$113.42 billion) in Q2 2023 from N49.85 trillion (US$ 108.30 billion) in Q1 2023.

The ever-growing debt profile poses significant risks to Nigeria’s financial position and the well-being of its citizens. With a significant portion of the national budget dedicated to servicing debt, limited resources are available for critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and social welfare. This puts a strain on the government’s ability to provide essential services and improve the standard of living for its citizens.

Furthermore, the reliance on external borrowing exposes Nigeria to potential economic shocks and vulnerabilities. As the debt burden increases, the country becomes more susceptible to fluctuations in interest rates and market conditions. In times of economic downturn or global financial crises, Nigeria may find it challenging to meet its debt obligations, leading to potential defaults and further economic downturn.

The sustainability of Nigeria’s debt is also a cause for concern. The increasing debt-to-GDP ratio raises questions about the country’s ability to generate sufficient revenue to service its debt in the long term. If Nigeria’s economic growth fails to keep pace with its debt accumulation, it could find itself trapped in a cycle of debt servicing that stifles economic progress and hampers development efforts.

Addressing the issue of Nigeria’s growing debt profile requires a comprehensive approach. The government needs to prioritize fiscal discipline and effective debt management strategies. This includes reducing wasteful spending, improving revenue generation, and ensuring transparency and accountability in the borrowing process.

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Additionally, there is a need to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on oil revenue. Boosting non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services can contribute to economic growth, job creation, and increased revenue generation, thus reducing the need for excessive borrowing.

Furthermore, government agencies responsible for debt management and economic planning must be strengthened to enhance their capacity in negotiating favorable terms for loans and monitoring debt repayment schedules.

Nigeria’s ever-growing debt profile is a cause for concern that requires urgent attention. By implementing effective debt management strategies, diversifying the economy, and promoting transparency and accountability, Nigeria can navigate the challenges posed by its debt burden and cultivate a more sustainable and prosperous future.