Nigeria owes N25.7 trillion – DMO

Director-General, Debt Management Office, DMO, Patience Oniha
Director-General, Debt Management Office, DMO, Patience Oniha

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says that Nigerian’s total debt profile is N25.7 trillion.

The Director-General of the office, Patience Oniha, announced this while addressing House of Representatives Committee on Public Account on Friday in Abuja.

“As at June 2019, our debt profile is at N25.7 trillion; this includes the federal, states governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We call it the total public debt, out of this total, the federal government is responsible for 80 per cent of the debt,” she said.

Ms Oniha said external borrowing accounted for about 32 per cent of the total debt while the 68 per cent was domestic.

She explained that the DMO was an agency of government which began operations in 2000 following the debt management problems of the country which led to the debt relief.

Ms Oniha said that the agency was responsible for the management of public debts and its mandate includes contracting debts on behalf of the Federal Government.

The director-general said this is clear under the Fiscal Responsibility Act and provisions in the DMO Act.

“If you look back several years, over 85 per cent of budget deficits are funded by borrowing which the DMO undertakes as approved by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly.

“We borrow from various sources, the multilaterals, the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the African Development Bank, China Exim and we also issue products in the international market.

“Locally, we are also very active in domestic borrowing, we issue treasury bills, federal government treasure bonds,” she said.

Ms Oniha said DMO also serves as an advisory body for the federal government on debt management and to put debt at 25 per cent ratio to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that the agency did not receive any amount borrowed, saying that it was paid directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which ensured that the money was used for what was borrowed for.

The chairman of the committee, Wole Oke (PDP-Osun), said it was important for parliament to have all the relevant information documented.

He said the parliament needed additional facts and figures following the Minister of Finance’s revelations during 2020 budget defence that revenue generation was a challenge in the country.

The lawmaker said the committee was determined to check Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and to avert abuse of the law in the area of remittances of revenues generated.

Mr Oke said even when the MDAs had powers to spend revenue generated, the committee was determined to ensure transparency and accountability.

“This country belongs to all of us, irrespective of the three arms the Constitution recognises, those in the Executives, Legislature and Judiciary are all Nigerians.

“We have to synergise to ensure this country progresses,” Mr Oke said.

(NAN)

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