Nigeria to borrow N1.59 trillion to fund 2020 budget

Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) has said the country will borrow N1.549 trillion from domestic and international markets to fund its 2020 budget.

Director-General of the office, Patience Oniha, on Friday told journalists that N805 billion will be borrowed externally, while N744 billion will be borrowed from the domestic market.

Oniha said N150 billion of the required funds will be sourced through the sale of Sukuk bonds.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari approved a record 10.59 trillion naira ($34.6 billion) budget for 2020 in December, returning the country to the January-December budget cycle.

The budget assumes a deficit of 1.52% of the estimated gross domestic product while crude production is assumed at 2.18 million barrels a day with an oil price of $57 per barrel.

The Nigerian government had always lamented that the country is broke and pushed to policies to help the country’s revenue.

The government wants the present tax collection rate of about 6% of GDP to double by 2020 and has increased the value-added tax on goods from 5% to 7.2%.

Critics, however, say the government spending is reckless. Local and international organisations have also voiced concerns about the Buhari administration’s borrowing spree.

When Buhari took over in 2015, from $63.81 billion, Nigeria’s debt grew to $83.88 billion by June 201. Nigeria’s debt has grown more than double (N13.58 trillion) from N12.12 trillion in June 2015 to N25.70 trillion in June 2019 – due to the devaluation of naira which occurred within the period. A dollar exchanged for naira at N196.95 as at June 2015, but in June 2019, the rate weakened to N306.4 per dollar.

While the government agrees that the country’s debt has grown to $83.88 billion which is made up of $27.163 billion in external debt and $56.72 billion owed domestically, it points to currency fluctuations for the varying accounts of Nigeria’s debt.

More so, since borrowers are expected to repay in the currency they borrowed regardless of exchange rate movement, the debt records show Buhari’s administration has increased Nigeria’s external debt by $16.84 billion (from $10.32 billion in June 2015 to $27.16 billion in June 2019), and domestic debt by N7.29 trillion (from N10.09 trillion in June 2015 to N17.38 trillion in June 2019).