The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to its latest payment statistics, disclosed that the Federal Government paid $1.09 billion to service external debt between January and September 2019.

According to the Central Bank’s statistics, Nigeria paid highest in August with $199.8 million; lowest in June with $18.58 million, and paid an average of $121.41 million over the course of the 9 months.

However, when compared to the $1.27 billion paid by the Federal Government for debt servicing during the same period of 9 months in 2018, there was a 14.17% decrease, with Nigeria paying an average of $141.95 million during the same period in 2018, while the total debt service figure at the end of 2018 was $1.47 billion.

The report further demonstrated that the Nigerian government spent $354.6 million, $252.3 million, and $485.8 million in the first, second and third quarter of the year to the Federal Government’s debt.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Federal Government’s total debt stock as at June 2019 stood at $66.66 billion, with foreign debt $22.88 billion and domestic debt $43.77 billion to make up $66.66 billion.

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Further breakdown: According to the DMO, the domestic debt stock of the Federal Government includes 72.26% FGN Bonds; 19.77% Nigerian Treasury Bills; 0.94% Nigerian Treasury Bonds; 0.08% FGN Saving Bonds; 1.49% FGN Sukuk; 0.19% Green Bond, and 5.28% Promissory Notes.

Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members of the CBN have continued to express concerns over increasing debt and its vulnerability to the nation’s economic growth.

As the threat of debt vulnerability continues, a coordinated domestic revenue expansion with simultaneous fiscal prudence as suggested in the last MPC meeting still remains the key to addressing the weak fiscal position of the economy,” Dr Robert Asogwa, member of the MPC.

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had said that Nigeria’s debt profile was not as frightening as people claimed. The minister insisted that the country was not going to have a debt crisis in spite of the increased level of foreign and domestic debt stock.

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