Latest Post

Nigeria’s debt is an issue - Minister


Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udo Udoma, has admitted that the country’s debt profile and vulnerabilities is an issue that should be adequately monitored.

Speaking at the presentation of the IMF Regional Economic Outlook Report for Sub-Sahara Africa at the ongoing IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia, Udoma said that Nigeria had realised that it had to improve its revenues in order to bring down the debt service to revenue ratio.

The IMF had earlier warned Nigeria and other oil-exporting countries over rising foreign debts, saying that there was a need to make external borrowing sustainable.

Addressing the issue of debt vulnerabilities on Thursday, the minister agreed with the IMF that Nigeria’s debt vulnerability was an issue that required constant monitoring.

The statement issued by the minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Akpandem James, quoted Udoma as saying even though Nigeria has one of the lowest debt levels among her African peers, “we realise that we need to improve our revenues to bring down our debt service to revenue ratio to more comfortable levels”.

Udoma explained that the Federal Government was intensifying efforts on domestic revenue mobilisation and maintaining fiscal discipline.

“We are broadening our tax base through policy reforms such as the tax amnesty programme. This, among, other measures, have resulted in the number of taxpayers rising from 13 million to over 19 million. We are also deploying technology in tax and customs’ collections to automate processes and enhance efficiencies,” he said.

He added that the government was also shifting its domestic debt portfolio to longer term maturities.

“Our external debt is primarily concessional borrowing, representing 54 percent of our external debt as of June 2018. The Debt Sustainability Analysis is conducted annually to reaffirm that our public debt stock is sustainable. In Nigeria, our borrowing is being utilised principally to fix our infrastructure,” Udoma said.

He said that appropriate policies were needed to enhance the resilience of the sub-Saharan African region from all forms of vulnerabilities, create more jobs for the rising youth population and raise per capita income.