Debt Management Office (DMO) on Thursday announced that the total public debt portfolio of Nigeria has risen to N28.63 trillion.
In its Public Debt Portfolio report released on Thursday night, the DMO explained that the country’s total debt rose from the N27.4tn recorded in December 2019 to N28.63tn in March 2020.
This indicates that within a space of three months, the country’s public debt portfolio grew by N1.23tn, representing 4.48 per cent.
Nigeria’s total external debt obligations as of the end of March this year stood at N9.99tn, the debt office also stated.
The N9.99tn is about N970bn higher than N9.02trn which was recorded as external debt obligations in December 2020.
The debt office said the country’s domestic debt was N18.64tn, representing 65.11 per cent of the Nigeria’s debt stock.
National Assembly had in June approved the request by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for the Federal Government to borrow foreign loans totalling $22.79bn.
The $22.79bn loan was approved less than one week after Buhari wrote to the National Assembly to request approval of fresh external borrowings totalling $5.513bn.
Buhari had, in his letter read in the Senate and House on Thursday, said the funds were for 2020 budget deficit, financing of critical projects and some states of the federation.
The $22.79bn loan is part of the 2016–2018 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
The Senate had on March 6 approved the loan amidst controversy. The Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, had particularly led the protests.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had also berated the Senate for approving President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for a fresh $22.7 billion loan.
The opposition party accused the APC senators of approving the loan, which according to them, had been rejected by Nigerians across the board.
This was contained in a statement signed by Kola Ologbodiyan, the party’s national publicity secretary.
“The party said in approving more financial burden on our nation, the APC senators have further shown that their party does not have the interest of Nigerians at heart, but is only out to repress and plunge our citizens into more hardship just for their selfish gains,”
The PDP said it is distressing that the APC senators approved the loan, even when the Buhari Presidency have not justified the request.