No end in sight for Nigeria’s rising debt profile despite the country’s vast natural resources and human capital. A recent report from the country’s Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed that Nigeria’s total debt rose by N2.5 trillion or 7.2 percent from N35.5 trillion in June 2021 to N38 trillion at the end of September 2021.
On a yearly basis, total public debt grew by 17.9 percent or N5.8 trillion and it is equivalent to 24.9 percent of 2020 nominal GDP. This is within the DMO’s target of 40 percent of GDP for the period 2020 – 2023 and domestic to external debt ratio of 70:30.
In the first nine months of 2021, Nigeria spent N2.5 trillion on debt servicing payments, N1.7 trillion was spent on servicing domestic debts and N755 billion spent on external debt servicing.
As at end-September, total domestic debt was N22.4 trillion. This constitutes 59.0 percent of total public debt. On a quarterly basis, the FGN domestic debt increased by 3.1 percent from N17.6 trillion at end-Q2 to N18.2 trillion at end-Q3 ’21. This was largely due to increased issuances of FGN bond and Nigerian treasury bills (NTBs) over the three months.
In terms of composition, FGN bonds and NTBs make up 93 percent of total domestic debt while FGN sukuk, treasury bond, savings bond, green bond and promissory notes make up the remaining 7 percent.
The share of states and the FCT’s domestic debt increased by 1.9 percent from N4.1 trillion at end of June to N4.2 trillion at end-September, with Lagos (N532 billion), Akwa Ibom (N234 billion) and Rivers (N226 billion), as the most indebted states.
We note that with the securitization of the ways and means advances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the domestic debt stock is likely to increase. As at end-October ‘21, the stock of CBN’s ways and means advances stood at N12.8trn.
During the period under review, external debt stock stood at USD37.9 billion (N15.6 trillion). On a quarterly basis, the external debt increased by 13.4 percent from USD33.5 billion (N13.7 trillion) at end-Q2. This was largely due to the USD4 billion Eurobonds issued by the FGN in September ’21 as part of the new external borrowing in the 2021 appropriation act.
Multilateral and bilateral loans make up the bulk of the external debt at 59.7 percent, while commercial loans and promissory notes make up the remaining 40.2 percent. We note that the current external debt stock constitutes 40.9% of total public debt and this exceeds the 30 percent target set by the DMO.
Turning to debt service costs, domestic debt servicing increased by 150 percent from N322 billion in Q2 ’21 to N808 billion in Q3 ’21 and external debt servicing increased by 74.2 percent from USD298.9 million (N123.8 billion) in Q2 ’21 to USD520.7 million (N215.7 billion) at end-Q3 ’21.
Although the National assembly has recently approved external borrowings of USD5.8 billion from multilateral and bilateral sources under the FGN’s 2018-2020 external borrowing (rolling) plan. We understand that the FGN is unlikely to issue additional Eurobonds this year.
The 2022 FGN budget has been pegged at N16.4 trillion. The FGN aims to earn N10.13 trillion to fund the budget and the resulting deficit of N6.3 trillion is expected to be financed by new external and domestic borrowings, privatisation proceeds, and multilateral /bilateral loan drawdowns.
As a percentage of total GDP, Nigeria’s public debt burden is relatively low compared to peer emerging market economies. The onus is on the FGN to make productive use of the borrowed funds to improve GDP growth and by extension, ensure economic development.
Federal Government Halts Cooking Gas Export to Lower Local Prices
In a bid to stabilize domestic prices and meet rising demand for cooking gas within Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a temporary halt on the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.
This decision follows a significant surge in the cost of cooking gas, which has placed a strain on consumers across the country.
According to reports, the halt in LPG export aims to increase the availability of the commodity within Nigeria’s borders, thereby reducing its local price.
The move is part of broader efforts to address the challenges faced by consumers grappling with the high cost of living.
In recent years, the demand for cooking gas has steadily increased in Nigeria, driven by urbanization, population growth, and a shift towards cleaner energy sources.
However, despite being a major producer of LPG, Nigeria has struggled to meet its domestic demand due to insufficient local production and distribution infrastructure.
Data from the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that while the total consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria has been on the rise, the country has relied heavily on imports to bridge the supply gap.
The recent decision by the government underscores its commitment to prioritizing the domestic market and ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable cooking gas.
Consumers have been grappling with escalating prices, with reports indicating a significant increase in the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Kano.
The decision to halt LPG exports signals a proactive measure by the government to mitigate the adverse effects of rising prices and alleviate the financial burden on households across the nation.
Manufacturing Sector Records 7.70% Quarter-on-Quarter Growth in Q4 2023
In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector grew by 7.70% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The surge in growth reflects a significant uptick from the preceding quarter and underscores the resilience of the manufacturing industry amid economic challenges.
This growth trajectory indicates positive momentum and signals potential opportunities for economic recovery and development.
The manufacturing sector, comprising thirteen key activities ranging from oil refining to motor vehicles and assembly, demonstrated notable dynamism across various subsectors.
This growth surge is attributed to increased production, enhanced operational efficiencies, and strategic investments across the manufacturing value chain.
Despite facing headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and regulatory uncertainties, the sector’s robust performance underscores its pivotal role in driving economic diversification, job creation, and industrialization efforts in Nigeria.
Moving forward, sustaining this growth momentum will require continued policy support, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to address key bottlenecks hindering the sector’s expansion.
By fostering an enabling business environment and promoting innovation and technology adoption, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can further catalyze inclusive economic growth and contribute significantly to the nation’s development agenda.
Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% in Q4 2023, Driven by Services
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The GDP expansion though slightly lower than the 3.52% recorded in the same period of 2022, reflects a positive trajectory for the Nigerian economy amid ongoing challenges.
The growth rate surpassed the 2.54% recorded in the preceding quarter, indicating a rebound in economic activity.
The services sector emerged as the key driver of growth expanding by 3.98% and contributing 56.55% to the overall GDP.
This sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, encompassing diverse industries such as telecommunications, finance, and real estate.
Also, the agriculture sector experienced growth, expanding by 2.10% compared to the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile, the industry sector recorded a notable improvement, growing by 3.86%, a stark contrast to the -0.94% contraction observed in the fourth quarter of 2022.
On an annual basis, Nigeria’s GDP expanded by 2.74% in 2023 compared to 3.10% in the previous year, reflecting sustained but moderated growth.
The positive trajectory in GDP growth reflects resilience in the face of various economic challenges.
However, sustaining and accelerating growth will require continued efforts to address structural bottlenecks, foster investment, and promote inclusive economic policies across sectors.
Nigeria’s Oil Sector Growth
During the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s oil sector posted a real growth rate of 12.11% year-on-year, signifying a significant improvement from previous periods.
This was driven by the surge in average daily oil production to 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), a positive shift in the sector’s performance.
Despite challenges such as global market fluctuations and production constraints, the oil sector contributed 4.70% to the nation’s total real GDP in Q4 2023.
Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector
Nigeria’s non-oil sector sustained growth momentum, posting a 3.07% real growth rate in Q4 2023.
This growth was primarily attributed to key industries including finance, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.
Accounting for 95.30% of the nation’s GDP in the same quarter, the non-oil sector continues to drive economic diversification efforts and reduce dependence on oil revenues.
Despite facing challenges, such as infrastructure deficits and regulatory bottlenecks, the sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth agendas.
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