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Nigeria’s Debt To Hit N38.68 Trillion By December 2021, Says Finance Minister

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has stated that Nigeria’s external and domestic debts may hit N38.68 trillion by December 2021.

She attributed that to abandoned road projects on the intricacies involved in the preparation of annual budgets at the executive and legislative levels.

Zainab explained this at the budget defence session organised by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt at the National Assembly, Abuja recently.

“The total public debt stock comprising the External and Domestic Debts of the Federal and State Governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stood at N31.01trillion (USD85.90billon) as at June 30, 2020″. She noted.

The Minister also added that the debt is projected, based on existing approvals, to rise to N32.51trillion by December 31, 2020 and N38.68 trillion by December 31, 2021.”

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Similarly, Ahmed noted, the 2021 Appropriation Bill has a provision of N3,124.38 trillion for Debt Service and Domestic Debt Service has a provision of N2,183.49billion while External Debt Service has a provision of N940.89billion.

She further explained that the 2021 Appropriation Bill provided for new borrowing of N4,281.17billion, which was broken down equally between Domestic Borrowing of N2,140.58 billion and External Borrowing of N2,140.58 billion.

She explained that the current Sukuk fund of N162billion is for 45 abandoned roads project cutting across the six geopolitical zones in the country.

Speaking Further, The Government officer clarified that “I’m one person that feels that we should just do this and take one major road in one geopolitical zone and finish it”.

“We were not able to do that because of the processes in which appropriation is made both at the executive as well as the legislative arms of government.

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“But truly, if we were able to just take one or two projects at a time and complete it before going to the next one, it will be better.

“So what the contractor does is the bit that has been cut out for him to do in that particular area.

“Once the fund is released and it is finished, we stop again. That’s the consequence of these numerous projects that we put in the budget. It is not related to Sukuk-funded projects alone, it cuts across all the projects.

“You will see a road that costs, maybe, N5billion, and you will see a provision for N100million, N200million or 300million.

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“Of course, the project will never finish. After two years, the contractor comes back and asks for variation, and the amount keeps growing”.

“I wish that we get to a point when we sit down as a government and agree that let us select a few projects, finish them in 2020, and then in 2021, we select the next”.

“So that on a geopolitical basis, those selections are done as a collective process.” she noted.

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