The Federal Government spent a total of N2.95tn to service domestic debts for a period of five years from 2010 to 2014, investigation has shown.
Statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office in Abuja on Thursday showed that the actual amount spent on servicing the domestic component of the country’s total debt rose from N334.66bn in 2010 to N846.64bn by the end of December 2014. The amount spent on domestic debt in 2015 is not yet available.
Each year, the Federal Government sets apart funds in the budget for the servicing of both foreign and domestic debts. The actual amount paid, however, may differ from what is budgeted.
The debt service obligation of the Federal Government showed an increase of N511.98bn within the period of five years. This means that in the period, the country’s domestic debt service obligation rose by 152.99 per cent.
The increase also reflected the rise in the size of the country’s domestic debt portfolio from N4.55tn in December 2010 to N7.9tn on December 31, 2014, a difference of 73.63 per cent.
This means that while the domestic debt component rose by 73.63 per cent within the period, the cost of servicing it also increased by 152.99 per cent. However, some of the debts that had fallen due within the period might have been liquidated.
As of December 31, 2010, the domestic debt of the Federal Government was classified as FGN Bonds, N2.9tn; Nigerian Treasury bills, N1.28tn; treasury bonds, N372.9bn; and development stocks, N220m.
However, by December 31, 2014; the FGN Bonds accounted for N4.79tn; Nigeria Treasury bills, N2.82tn; and treasury bonds, N296.22bn. The development stock had been phased out by then.
In terms of interest payment in 2014, the government paid N511.78bn on FGN Bonds; Nigeria Treasury bills, N300.27bn; and treasury bonds, N34.59bn.
The previous year, FGN Bonds accounted for N464.67bn of the total interest payment; Nigeria Treasury bills, N293.88bn; while treasury bonds accounted for N35.55bn. The total interest paid on domestic debt for the year was N794.1bn.
In 2012, with a total domestic debt service obligation of N701.38bn, FGN Bonds accounted for N354.08bn; Nigeria Treasury bills, N310.79bn; and treasury bonds, N36.5bn.
For 2011, the interest paid on domestic debt amounted to N518bn, with the FGN Bonds accounting for N293.79bn; Nigeria Treasury bills, N186.72bn; and treasury bonds, N37.47bn.
The interest payment for 2010 showed that FGN Bonds gulped N231.11bn; Nigeria Treasury bills, N65.07bn; while N38.43bn was paid as interest on treasury bonds.
Within the period, some domestic debts that were due for payment were either redeemed or refinanced. For instance, in 2014, treasury bonds amounting to N865.81bn were redeemed, while in 2013, N94.17bn of domestic debt was redeemed.
In the previous year (2012), a total of N456bn of domestic debt was refinanced. In 2011, N223.67bn of the domestic debt was refinanced, just as N317.76bn was refinanced in 2010. Debt redemption means that the principal sum of a debt that is due is paid off, while refinancing means that a fresh loan is taken to pay off a debt that is due.
The interest payment in 2014 as a percentage of the total domestic debt showed that the average cost or interest on the domestic debt for the year stood at 10.71 per cent. In 2010, the rate stood at 7.35 per cent.
Generally, the nation’s domestic debt market has been very active and the rates are regarded as attractive. For this reason and because of the safety of the government’s debt instruments, a number of investors, including Pension Fund Administrators, have been very active in the market.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported on July 27, 2015 that the country’s total debt stock stood at N12.12tn as of June 30, 2015, with the domestic debt of the Federal Government accounting for N8.39tn.
For 2016, the Federal Government expects to borrow N984bn from domestic sources and N900bn from foreign sources to finance the capital component of the budget.
It has also set aside the sum of N113bn as a sinking fund for the retirement of maturing loans, while N1.36tn has been proposed for foreign and domestic debt service obligations.
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.
The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
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