Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, has said that Nigeria’s N25.7 trillion debt is not as worrisome as people think.
The minister said there is nothing worrisome about the country’s debt portfolio, adding that despite the foreign and domestic debt stock, Nigeria does not have a debt crisis.
Financial experts have expressed concerns that servicing the debt might cripple the local economy.
The minister spoke amid growing concerns from some quarters that the country was inching towards a debt crisis as servicing the debt may stymie the implementation of infrastructure projects.
Contrary to the experts’ view, Ahmed said the issue Nigeria is having is not debt related, but revenue generation.
“We have heard repeatedly that Nigeria is inching towards a debt crisis and we have consistently said that Nigeria does not have a debt crisis. Our total borrowing rate is just under 50 per cent of our GDP, while the multilateral institutions project for a country to borrow from 50 to 55 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” the minister is quoted as saying.
“What we have, is a revenue problem. Our revenue performance by half year is 58 per cent. So, we have designed this Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative early this year, which has three thematic areas.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, presented the National Assembly with details of the 2020 budget.
As presented to the red chamber, the aggregate expenditure for the 2020 Budget stood at N10.33 trillion. The budget proposal, however, showed that debt services would gulp a sum of N2.45 trillion.
The country’s debt portfolio is likely to go up as Ahmed had earlier mentioned that a sum of N1.7 trillion will be borrowed to finance the 2020 budget.
The President Buhari-led administration had also approached the World Bank for another loan to the tune of N767.3 billion in a new tranche of concessionary lending.