2019 debt servicing gulped N2.1tn — Investigation

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The Federal Government spent a total sum of N2.1tn to service the country’s debt obligations to local and foreign debtors between January and December 2019, statistics obtained from the Accountant-General of the Federation have revealed.

The amount is contained in 2019 consolidated financial statements of the government which was prepared by the OAGF.

A copy of the account was obtained exclusively by our correspondent in Abuja.

The N2.11tn spent to service the country’s debt is N64.06bn or 2.99 per cent less than the N2.14tn approved in the 2019 Federal Government budget.

An analysis of the statement by our correspondent showed that from the N2.11tn, about N1.66tn was spent servicing domestic debt while foreign debt obligations took the balance of N448.66bn.

A breakdown of the N2.11tn debt service payment showed that about N290.21bn was spent in January, while February, March, April and May had N187.76bn, N231.36bn, N118.56bn and N84.07bn respectively.

Further analysis of the financial statement showed that the Federal Government spent N90.3bn in June and N236.91bn in July.

For August, September, October, November and December, the amount spent on debt service obligations were N207.03bn, N276.1bn, N220.54bn, N110.06bn, N56.75bn respectively.

For the N1.66tn spent on servicing domestic debt, the financial statement showed that about N267.87bn was spent in January.

In the same vein, the sum of N155.42bn was incurred on debt service obligation in February, while March had N196.99bn, April N84.19bn and May N49.71bn.

Also, the government utilised N55.93bn to service domestic debt in June while July, August, September, October, November and December had N202.54bn, N172.66bn, N231.67bn, N176.1bn, N65.62bn and N12.31bn respectively.

For foreign debt servicing, further analysis of the statement showed that the N448.66bn spent by the Federal Government was incurred thus: January N32.34bn, February N32.34bn, March N32.36bn, April N34.36bn, May N34.36bn and June N34.36bn.

Similarly, the sum of N34.36bn was spent by the government on debt servicing in July while August, September, October, November and December had N34.36bn, N44.44bn, N44.44bn, November N44.44bn and December N44.44bn respectively.

Nigeria’s total debt stock rose to N26.14tn as of the end of September 2019 from N25.7tn in March 2019. This means, quarter on quarter, Nigeria’s total debt stock rose by 1.71 per cent or N440bn.

As of the third quarter of 2019, the country’s total external debt was estimated at N8.27tn, constituting 31.55 per cent of total debt for the Federal Government, states, and the FCT.

The total domestic debt rose to N17.94tn or 68.45 per cent of total debt stock within the quarter.

A professor of economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Sheriffdeen Tella, told our correspondent that the country had a debt problem contrary to the claim of the Federal Government.

Tella said, “We have a debt problem because when you have problem with debt servicing, then you have a serious debt problem.”

A former Director General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Chijioke Ekechukwu, said the rising debt portended danger for the economy.

He said rather than continue to rely on borrowing to finance its activities, the Federal Government should adopt other sources of funding the infrastructure needs of the country.

Copyright PUNCH.


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