Everest Amaefule, Abuja
The country’s debt profile has risen to N16.29tn, the Debt Management Office has said.
Statistics obtained from the DMO on Tuesday showed that the country’s total debt liability had risen to N16.29tn as of June 30, 2016. As of June 2015, the country’s total debt stood at N12.12tn.
This means that within the one-year period (July 2015 to June 2016), the country’s total debt rose by N4.17tn, or 34.41 per cent.
A breakdown of the country’s debt profile shows that external debt by the federal and state governments stood at $11.26bn or N3.19tn as of June 30, 2016. It was $10.32bn or N2.03tn by July last year.
According to the DMO, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official exchange rates of N283 to $1 as of June 30, 2016, and N197 as at December 2015 were used in arriving at the naira equivalent of the foreign debt status.
The domestic debt of the Federal Government alone stood at N10.61tn as of June this year, up from N8.4tn a year ago.
This means that within 12 months, the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile rose by N2.21tn or 26.31 per cent.
The domestic debt of the states stood at N2.5tn at the end of June this year, whereas it was N1.69tn in July 2015. This means that within a period of one year, the domestic debt of the states rose by N810bn, an increase of 47.93 per cent.
For domestic debt, FGN Bonds remained the dominant instrument for borrowing from the domestic market, as it accounted for N7.47tn or 70.46 per cent of the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile.
The Nigerian Treasury Bills accounted for N2.9tn or 27.36 per cent of the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile.
Treasury Bonds, on the other hand, accounted for N230.99bn or 2.18 per cent of Federal Government’s domestic borrowing.
Although the Federal Government had for long acknowledged that it was borrowing too much from the domestic debt market and crowding out the private sector, current debt statistics show that the trend has not changed.
The DMO recently said that refinancing 30 per cent of the Federal Government’s domestic debt amounting to N2.56tn within the next one year posed a high risk to the economy.
The DMO, in a document, ‘Nigeria’s Debt Management Strategy 2016-2019’, said at least 30 per cent of the nation’s domestic debt would fall due within a one-year period.
It added that refinancing the 30 per cent component of the domestic debt posed high risk to the economy because of high interest rate.
It stated, “This debt stock is slightly lower than the published FGN’s total debt stock of $55,576.28m (N10,948,526.57m), because the Debt Management Strategy tool treats the NTBs stock based on the discount values and not on the face values; while for the external debt, the tool aggregates the debt by tranche and currency, and applies a common end-period exchange rate. These gave rise to the observed difference.
“The implied interest rate was high at 10.77 per cent, due mainly to the higher interest cost on domestic debt. The portfolio is further characterised by a relatively high share of domestic debt falling due within the next one year.
“Interest rate risk is high, since maturing debt will have to be refinanced at market rates, which could be higher than interest rates on existing debt. The foreign exchange risk is relatively low given the predominance of domestic debt in the portfolio.”