News – Reps investigates Nigeria’s rising debt profile

The House of Representatives is to investigate the rise of Nigeria’s external debt from$10.49b in 2015 to $17.83b in June 2018.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Yusuf Tajudeen (PDP, Kogi) Chairman of the House Committee on Capital market, who noted that the true state of the nation’s debt profile has  continued to generate controversies.

This has led to varying figures given by the Federal government and some fiscal policy monitoring organisations, he noted.

The lawmaker said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is the chairman of Nigerian Economic Council (NEC) revealed that the nation’s debt profile stood at $10b in the last three years while the figures given by economic and budget experts range between $13b to $47b from May 2015 to June 2018.

He said “Nigeria’s external and domestic debt, which reveals that the external debt grew to $17.8b in June 2018 from $10.49b in 2015, while domestic debt, which was N8.39 billion in June 2015 has risen to N 12.15 trillion as at June 2018; representing an increase of N17.6 trillion in three years”.

Besides the rising national debt profile, there is a sharp increase in sub-national borrowing in the last three years, such that the domestic debts of states governments rose from N1.69 trillion in June 2015 to N3.4 trillion in June 2018, he said.

“Unlike global practices where borrowings are tied to specific projects mutually agreed by respective organs of government, various borrowings by the Federal government since June 2015, have not been transparent, this is a situation that gives room for doubts, misconceptions and prone to manipulations,” added.

According to him, Nigeria’s revenues are sharply declining, which makes it increasingly difficult to attract and sustain higher debts.

This, he said ultimately portends micro and macro dangers to the national economy amidst numerous developmental challenges.

The motion unanimously adopted after a voice while Joint committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management, Capital Market and Institutions and Banking and Currency were mandated to carry out the investigation.

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