The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was not only to blame for Nigeria’s high debt.
Naija News reports that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had lamented the rising debt accumulation by the Buhari-led federal government.
Speaking at the ‘why I am Alive’ campaign in Lagos on Friday, the former president said Nigeria faces the risk of impending bankruptcy.
According to him, as at 2015, Nigeria’s total external debt was about $10.32bn. By March 2019, Obasanjo said Nigeria’s external debt had increased to $81.274bn.
“Such a situation talks about an impending bankruptcy. No entity can survive while devoting 50 per cent of its revenue to debt servicing.
“It has recently been pointed out that in 2018 that total debt servicing took over 60 per cent of government revenue.”
But speaking at a media briefing to present the Buhari government’s major achievements, Lai Mohammed said the debt stock was “a cumulative figure of borrowings by successive governments over many years”.
The Minister said Nigeria still operates within its debt ceiling of 25 per cent in the total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product.
“Recently, there have been concerns in certain circles about the country’s growing debt, both domestic and external,” Mohammed said.
“In the process, there have been some misrepresentations and scaremongering. We, therefore, believe it is important to put things in the right perspective, so our citizens will be well informed
“The public debt stock is actually a cumulative figure of borrowings by successive governments over many years. It is therefore not appropriate to attribute the public debt stock to one administration.
“Nigeria’s total public debt stock in 2015 was $63.80bn, comprising $10.31bn of external debt and $53.49bn domestic debt. By June 2019, the total debt stock was $83.883bn, made up of $27.163bn of external debt and $56.720bn domestic debt. It is therefore not correct to say that Nigeria’s external debt alone is $81.274bn.
“There is yet no cause for alarm. This is because Nigeria has a debt ceiling of 25 per cent in the total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product (Debt/GDP), which it has operated within. The ratio for December 31, 2018 and June 30, 2019 were 19.09 per cent and 18.99 per cent, respectively.”