Debt servicing gulps N2.34tn in six months – DMO


Nigeria’s debt servicing spending slowed to N849.58bn in the second quarter of 2023, findings by The PUNCH have shown.

This was a decrease by 43.04 per cent compared to N1.49tn, which was spent in Q1 2023 on servicing debt.

According to data obtained from the Debt Management Office, between January and March 2023, Nigeria spent N874.13bn on domestic debt servicing, while it spent $801.36m (N617.35bn) on external debt servicing, giving a total of N1.24tn.

However, between April and June 2023, Nigeria spent N565.88bn on domestic debt servicing, and $368.26m (N283.7bn) on external debt servicing, a total of N1.24tn.

The exchange rate of the DMO, which was $1 to N770.38, was used for external debt servicing.

In six months, a total of N2.34tn was spent on servicing the country’s debt.

The PUNCH also observed that unlike the previous quarter, where Nigeria spent about $131.13m servicing loans from the Exim Bank of China, nothing was spent in Q1, 2023 on Chinese loans.

Despite the decrease in the cost of debt servicing, Nigeria’s total public debt hit N87.38tn at the end of June 2023.

The figure represented an increase of 75.29 per cent or N37.53tn compared to N49.85tn recorded at the end of March 2023.

The DMO, in a statement, said the debt included the N22.71tn Ways and Means Advances of the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government.

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The statement also noted that other additions to the debt stock were new borrowings by the Federal Government and the sub-nationals from local and external sources.

There was a significant increase in both domestic and external debt within three months.

The domestic debt rose by 79.18 per cent from N30.21tn, while the external debt rose by 69.28 per cent from N19.64tn in Q1 2023.

In its 2022 Debt Sustainability Analysis Report, the DMO warned that the Federal Government’s projected revenue of N10tn for 2023 could not support fresh borrowings.

According to the office, the projected government’s debt service-to-revenue ratio of 73.5 per cent for 2023 was high and a threat to debt sustainability.

It noted that the government’s current revenue profile could not support higher levels of borrowing.

The International Monetary Fund recently said the Federal Government projected to spend 82 per cent of its revenue on interest payments in 2023.

The World Bank also projected that debt servicing would gulp 123.4 per cent of the Federal Government’s revenue in 2023.

President Bola Tinubu recently said the country could not continue to service its debt with 90 per cent of its revenue.

He noted that the country was headed for destruction if that continued.


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