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Nigeria total debt profile to hit N38.68 trillion by December, says Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that Nigeria’s total external and domestic debts will be in the region of N38.68 trillion by December 2021.

Ahmed noted that the 2021 Appropriation Bill has a provision of N3,124.38 trillion for Debt Service. N2,183.49billion provision for Domestic Debt Service while External Debt Service has a provision of N940.89billion.

She made the disclosure at the budget defence session organised by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt at the National Assembly, Abuja.

The Minister said “The total public debt stock comprising the External and Domestic Debts of the Federal and State Governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stood at N31.01trillion (USD85.90billon) as at June 30, 2020.

“It (debt) is projected, based on existing approvals, to rise to N32.51trillion by December 31, 2020 and N38.68 trillion by December 31, 2021.”

According to her, the 2021 Appropriation Bill provided for new borrowing of N4,281.17billion, which was broken down equally between Domestic Borrowing of N2,140.58 billion and External Borrowing of N2,140.58 billion.

She also said that the current Sukuk fund of N162billion is for 45 roads cutting across the six geopolitical zones.

She said “I’m one person that feels that we should just do this and take one major road in one geopolitical zone and finish (it).

“We were not able to do that because of the processes in which appropriation is made both at the executive as well as the legislative arms of government.

“But truly, if we were able to just take one or two projects at a time and complete it before going to the next one, it will be better.

“So what the contractor does is the bit that has been cut out for him to do in that particular area.

“Once the fund is released and it is finished, we stop again. That’s the consequence of these numerous projects that we put in the budget. It is not related to Sukuk-funded projects alone, it cuts across all the projects.

“You will see a road that costs, maybe, N5billion, and you will see a provision for N100million, N200million or 300million.

“Of course, the project will never finish. After two years, the contractor comes back and asks for variation, and the amount keeps growing.

“I wish that we get to a point when we sit down as a government and agree that let us select a few projects, finish them in 2020, and then in 2021, we select the next.

“So that on a geopolitical basis, those selections are done as a collective process.”

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