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Public Debt in Nigeria Surpasses N49.95 Trillion, Requires Stronger Revenues

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has revealed that Nigeria’s total public debt has reached a staggering N49.95 trillion (equivalent to $108.30 billion) as of March. This, the DMO said, includes the combined external and domestic debts of the Federal Government, the 36 states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This significant increase in the country’s debt stock from the previous period of December 21, 2022, which stood at N46.25 trillion ($103 billion), indicates a rise of approximately three trillion Naira. It’s important to note that this total debt stock does not incorporate the Federal Government’s N22.719 trillion Ways and Means Advances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). However, the National Assembly approved its securitization in May, and it will be included in the Federal Government’s debt stock from June onwards. To enhance transparency, the DMO recently introduced the Market Access Country-Debt Sustainability Analysis (MAC-DSA). This tool, developed by the World Bank and IMF, promotes best practices in public debt management. The DMO has been implementing this analysis annually with the participation of key Federal Government agencies, including the CBN, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning. Patience Oniha, Director-General of the DMO, emphasized the importance of generating more revenues to maintain sustainable public debt levels. The recently released DSA report for 2022 highlighted the need for the government to focus on revenue growth. Oniha praised certain policies of the current administration, such as the removal of subsidies to manage expenditure and the appointment of a Special Adviser to the President on Revenue, recognizing them as positive steps towards achieving debt sustainability. It is crucial for Nigeria to address the challenge of mounting public debt and prioritize revenue generation to ensure a sustainable financial future.  

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