- Nigeria’s Debt Profile Now $57.39bn
The Debt Management Office, DMO, said yesterday that the nation’s total debt profile currently stood at $57.39 billion.
Director-General of DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, who disclosed this when he appeared before the Senator Shehu Sani’s Committee on Foreign and Local Debts to defend his agency’s budget proposal, said the total debt stock comprised external and domestic debts of the federal government, those of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as at December 31, 2016.
This came on a day the Presidency slashed its 2017 budget by N3 billion, in view of the present economic recession in the country.
Nwankwo explained that of the total debt stock, external debt stood at $11.41 billion, while domestic debt stock was put at $45.98 billion.
According to him, the 36 states and FCT accounted for about 32.45 percent of the total external debt as at December 31,2016, while the federal government accounted for about 67.55 percent.
He added that the disaggregated external debt stock of the 36 states and FCT as at June 2016 was $3.65 billion, while the disaggregated domestic debt stock of the states and the FCT as at September 2016 was N2,822.89 billion.
Explaining the increase in the debt profile, Nwankwo said: “We observed that the increase was about 6.5 percent and this was as a result of additional disbursement because we don’t disburse a good number of the external loan we take at a go.”
Nwankwo who noted that the domestic debt stock by instruments as at 31st December, 2016 stood at N11,058,204,296,592.00, adding that federal government bonds were N7,564,937,465,592.00; Nigerian Treasury Bills, N3,277,278,831,000.00; and Treasury bonds, N215,988,000,000.00.
When chairman of the committee, Senator Sani asked why the debt profile had not been forgiven, at least with the goodwill of the present government, the DMO boss said Nigeria would not beg for debt forgiveness, since the economy was in good shape.
Senator Sani, who was apparently not comfortable with the position of the DMO Director- General, said: “It is shocking that in 2016, people don’t find it easy to feed their families, pay the fees of their children, pay their rents. ‘’Now things are in very bad shape, but not typical of somebody who lives with the people, but somebody speaking from an expert point of view to say we are not in a bad position to ask for forgiveness.
‘’These are two things, if you are talking from the point of how our people live nowadays, you will not be able to say such things. But you are speaking naturally as an expert.
‘’Our most concern is the fact that most of the states simply collect money, piled up so many debts for their children and grandchildren and there is nothing to show for it. Many of them couldn’t pay salaries and we have seen how some new sets of cash disbursement were done to them from excess crude account to ecological funds.”
Meanwhile, the Senate was told yesterday that the Presidency has slashed its 2017 budget by N3 billion, even as N94.5 million was budgeted for the purchase of bullet proof tyres for state house officials.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs to defend the 2017 Budget, Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi, said the budget cut in 2016 from N16,563,395,984 to N13, 567,979,279 in 2017 represented 18.08 percent reduction, compared with the sum appropriated last year.
The Permanent Secretary, who disclosed that the State House had proposed the sum of N4.9 billion for villa maintenance, said it also owed Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, N552 million and an outstanding sewage charges of N52.8 million.
He said the N100 million earmarked for kitchen equipment in 2016 budget was not released, noting that “there is a proposal for the sum of N52.8 million in the 2017 budget. The committee may wish to be informed that the bills received from Abuja Environment Protection Board (AEPB) for liquid waste disposal for the state House for 2016 is N15.6 million, with outstanding liabilities of previous years standing at N37.5 million (totaling N52.8m). The figure has remained consistent.
“This informed the provision of the same amount of N52.8 million in 2017. This position was the same sought for in our 2016 proposal but only paltry sum of N6.1 million was appropriated. We have, however, commenced negotiations with AEPB to arrive at a mutually acceptable charge henceforth.’’
Commenting, two members of the committee, Senators Duro Faseyi and Joshua Lidani, expressed displeasure over the level of releases by the Ministry of Finance to the State House.
NNPC To Resume Oil Exploration In Sokoto Basin
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday announced plans to resume active oil exploration in Sokoto Basin.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said exploration for crude would resume in the Sokoto Basin.
The statement read in part, “Kyari also hinted of plans for the corporation to resume active exploration activities in the Sokoto Basin.”
The NNPC boss disclosed this while receiving the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who paid Kyari a courtesy visit in his office on Thursday.
In October 2019, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had during the spud-in ceremony of Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-East, said the government would explore for oil and gas in the frontier basins across the country.
He outlined the basins to include the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins.
Buhari had also stated that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which had already witnessed oil and gas discoveries.
Kyari restated NNPC’s commitment to the partnership with Kebbi State for the production of biofuels, describing the project as viable and in tandem with the global transition to renewable energy.
He said the rice production programme in the state was a definite boost to the biofuels project.
Kyari said the linkage of the agricultural sector with the energy sector would facilitate economic growth and bring prosperity to the citizens.
He was quoted as saying, “We will go ahead and renew the Memorandum of Understanding and bring in any necessary amendment that is required to make this business run faster.”
The Kebbi State governor expressed appreciation to the NNPC for its cooperation on the biofuel project.
Bagudu said the cassava programme was well on course but the same could not be said of the sugarcane programme as the targeted milestone was yet to be attained.
Kebbi state is one of the states that the NNPC is in partnership with for the development of renewable energy.
Nigeria To Benefit As G-20 Approves Extension Of Debt Relief Till December
Finance ministers of G-20 countries have approved an extension of debt relief for the world’s poorest nations till December 2021.
David Malpass, World Bank president, made the announcement at the virtual spring meeting, on Wednesday.
TheCable had earlier reported that the G-20 countries will meet this week to consider an extension of the debt freeze.
The G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union.
G-20 countries had established a debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) which took effect in May 2020.
Nigeria had benefited from the initiative which delivered about $5 billion in relief to more than 40 eligible countries.
The suspension period which was originally set to end on December 31, 2020 was extended to June 2021.
Malpass said the extension to December 2021 will boost economic recovery and promote job creation in low income countries.
He urged countries to be transparent in their approach to the debt service payment extension.
“On debt, we welcome a decision by the G20 to extend the DSSI through 2021. The World Bank is also working closely with the IMF to support the implementation of the G20 Common Framework,” he said.
“In both these debt efforts, greater transparency is an important element: I urge all G20 countries to disclose the terms of their financing contracts, including rescheduling, and to support the World Bank’s efforts to reconcile borrower’s debt data more fully with that of creditors.
“Participation by commercial creditors and fuller participation by official bilateral creditors will be vital. I urge all G20 countries to instruct and create incentives for all their public bilateral creditors to participate in debt relief efforts, including national policy banks. I also urge G20 countries to act decisively to incentivize the private creditors under their jurisdiction to participate fully in sovereign debt relief efforts for low-income countries.
“Debt relief efforts are providing some welcome fiscal space, but IDA countries need major new resources too, including grants and highly concessional resources. From April to December 2020, the first DSSI period, our net transfers to IDA and LDC countries were close to $17 billion, of which $5.8 billion were on grant terms.
“Our new commitments were almost $30 billion, making IDA19 the single largest source of concessional resources for the poorest countries and the key multilateral platform for support. To recover from COVID, much more is needed, and we welcome the G20’s support for advancing IDA20 by one year.”
IMF / Fiscal Monitor Report April 2021 Forecast
Unprecedented fiscal support by governments during the pandemic has prevented more severe economic contractions and larger job losses, but risks remain of long-term scarring the International Monetary Fund says in its Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday (April 7) in Washington, DC.
Meanwhile, such support, along with drops in revenues, has raised government deficits and debt to unprecedented levels across all country income groups, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.
“The first lesson one year into COVID-19 is that fiscal policy can act timely and decisively. The fiscal policy response was unprecedented in speed and size looking across countries. We also learned that countries with easier access to finance or stronger buffers were able to give more fiscal support. They’re also projected to recover faster,” said Gaspar.
Average overall deficits as a share of GDP in 2020 reached 11.7 percent for advanced economies, 9.8 percent for emerging market economies, and 5.5 percent for low-income developing countries. Countries’ ability to scale up spending has diverged.
“So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that fiscal policy is powerful and that sound public finances are crucial in order to enable that power to be used to the fullest,” stressed Gaspar.
Gaspar urged policy makers to balance the risks from large and growing public and private debt with the risks from premature withdrawal of fiscal support, which could slow the recovery.
“In the spring 2021, we emphasize differentiation across countries. Moreover, COVID-19 is fast evolving, as are the consequences from COVID-19. The fiscal policy must stay agile and flexible to respond to this fast-evolving situation.” Said Gaspar.
He also warned that the targeting of measures must be improved and tailored to countries’ administrative capacity so that fiscal support can be maintained for the duration of the crisis—considering an uncertain and uneven recovery
“Moreover, countries are very different in their structures, in their institutions, in their financial capacity and much else. Therefore, policies and policy advice have to be tailored to fit.” Said Gaspar
Gaspar concluded his remarks by emphasizing that global vaccination is urgently needed, and that global inoculation would pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity, leading to increased tax revenues and sizable savings in fiscal support.
“A fair shot, a vaccination for everybody in the world may well be the highest return global investment ever. But the Fiscal Monitor also emphasizes the importance of giving a fair shot at life success for everyone. It documents that preexisting inequalities made COVID-19 worse and that COVID-19 in turn made inequalities worse. There is here a vicious cycle that threatens trust and social cohesion. Therefore, we recommend stronger redistributive policies and universal access to basic public services like health, education, and social security,” said Gaspar.
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