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Nigeria’s total debt rises to N17.36tn



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By Odunewu Segun  

Nigeria’s total debt as at December 31, 2016 rose to $57.39bn, the equivalent of N17.36 trillion comprising $11.41bn (N3.48 trillion) foreign debt and $45.98 (N13.88 trn) domestic debt, National Daily has gathered.

The Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo disclosed this on Friday while appearing before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt committee to defend the 2017 budget of DMO in the National Assembly.

The DMO boss said the figures showed that external debt rose by 6.53 per cent in 2016 from $10.71 billion on December 31, 2015 while the domestic debt rose from N8.84 trillion in December 2015 to N11.06 trillion in December, 2016, representing an increase of 25.11 per cent.

Nwankwo said the marginal rise in the domestic debt was the offshoot of net issuances of federal government bonds and treasury bills.

He further disclosed that Nigeria paid $353.093 million for external debt service in 2016 as against the projected $421.893 million, implying a shortfall of 16.31 per cent difference between the projected debt service estimate and what was actually paid.

The DMO boss also rejected a suggestion by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt that the federal government should seek debt forgiveness in the face of Nigeria’s rising debt.

According to him, even though the economy is facing a myriad of challenges, such challenges are too minute to compel the nation to ask for debt forgiveness. “Nigeria is not in a position to beg for forgiveness. We are still a strong economy. Although there are challenges but we have not got to the stage to ask for debt forgiveness,” Nwankwo insisted.