Director General, Debt Management Office, Mrs. Patience Oniha


Nigeria’s total debt as at December 31, 2018 has risen to N24.387 trillion or $79.437 billion, according to statistics released by the Debt Management Office DMO.

 Details of the figures shows that the country’s total debt profile increased from N21.725 trillion in 2017 to N24.387 trillion in 2018, representing a 12.25 per cent growth rate.

Director General of the DMO, Mrs. Patience Oniha, who spoke in Abuja Thursday, these figures cover foreign and local debts of the Federal, States, Local Government, and the Federal Capital Territory.

Further details provided by the DMO boss showed that more progress was made towards achieving the target debt stock mix of 60 per cent (domestic) and 40 per cent (external).

According to the DG, the share of domestic debt dropped to 68.18 per cent from 73.36 per cent as at December 31, 2017 thereby achieving a mix 68.18 per cent and 31.82 per cent in the debt stock.

She said: “The strategy of using relatively cheaper and longer tenored external funds is achieving the expected objectives. Some of the objectives were to create more space for other borrowers in the domestic market, extend the average tenor of the debt stock in order to reduce refinancing risk and increase external reserves.

“The implementation of the strategy led to an injection of N855 billion through the redemption of Nigeria Treasury Bills in 2018 and a general drop in the FGN’s borrowing rate in the domestic market from over 1 per cent per annum in 2017 to14-15 per cent per annum in 2018”.

It was gathered that the Federal Government’s domestic stock includes N331.12 billion Promissory Notes issued to oil marketing companies and state governments in December 2018. The DMO-boss also disclosed that some of its major plans in 2019 to include more of project-tied borrowing and access more external borrowing from concessional sources.

Other areas of focus, it was further gathered would be the management of risks associated with Debt stock to mitigate Debt service costs.

Mrs. Oniha also disclosed the DMO plans to issue 30-year Federal Government of Nigeria bonds for the first time, stressing that the issuance of the bonds will meet the needs of annuity funds and other long term investors while also developing the domestic capital market and reducing the re-financing risk of the FGN.