BY DAYO ADESULU
Federal Government has said there is nothing to worry about Nigeria’s rising debt profile of $15.3 billion under Present Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Lai Mohammed who awaits another $30 billion external loans, said on Monday that Nigeria has not yet exceeded its debt ceiling mark. Meaning that as long as we have not exceeded our borrowing limit, Nigeria can continue to borrow.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance while briefing newsmen on the achievements recorded by the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the outgoing 2019.
Mohammed, who faulted critics of the Buhari administration for raising alarm over the current debt profile of the country, said the debt profile is highly exaggerated and being portrayed without any numerical facts.
Meanwhile, under Buhari’s administration, Nigeria external debt has risen by $15.3 billion. He faulted this statistics but could not give his figure.
The nation’s external debt stock rose by 148 per cent in almost four years of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, data from the Debt Management Office showed.
The external debt soared to $25.61bn on March 31, 2019, from $10.32bn on June 30, 2015, according to the DMO.
Eurobonds worth $10.87bn accounted for the largest chunk of the external debt, as it rose by 625 per cent from $1.5bn on June 30, 2015.
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The debt owed to the World Bank rose to $8.90bn from $6.19bn in the period under review.
China, through its Export-Import Bank of China, is the third-biggest lender to Nigeria with a loan of $2.55bn as of March 31, 2019, up from $1.39bn as of June 30, 2015.
Other lenders are African Development Bank ($1.25bn), African Development Fund ($834.18m), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa ($5.88m), Export Development Fund ($59.15m), Islamic Development Bank (15.51m) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development ($176.19m).
Bilateral debts from France (Agence Française de Développement), Japan (Japan International Cooperation Agency), India Exim Banking of India and Germany (KfW) stood at $366.07m, $74.63m, $26.46m and $171.79m, respectively.
Financial and economic experts, who spoke with our correspondent in separate interviews, described the $15.3bn increase in the nation’s external debt as a cause for worry.