Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy’s total public debt rose to $79.5 billion (N28.63 trillion) as of the first quarter of 2020, which is March 31, 2020. This represents a 15% increase from the figure that was recorded for the corresponding period in 2019, which was about $69.09 billion (N24.94 trillion).
This was disclosed in a latest publication by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Friday June 3, 2020.
Nigeria has seen its debt stock rise sharply in recent years as the country tries to fund infrastructural and developmental projects and boost its fragile economy, which has been in and out of recession. The country’s economy has been projected to fall into recession again, due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 that has seen oil prices crash globally.
According to data obtained from DMO, $27.66 billion (N9.9 trillion) is the total external debt. This represents 34.89% of the total public debt stock. Whereas, $51.64 billion (N18.64 trillion) is the total domestic debt, which represents 65.11% of the total public debt.
The Federal Government accounts for 50.77% of the total domestic debt, which is $40.26 billion (N14.53 trillion), whereas the State Governments and Federal Capital Territory account for 14.34% of the total domestic borrowing which is $11.37 billion (N4.11 trillion).
Nigeria has been under a lot of fiscal crisis following the crash of oil prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The oil sector accounts for about 90% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and about 60% of its total revenue.
The country, which had lined up a series of debt issue this year, had to halt the external commercial borrowing due to oil price collapse. The Minister for Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had last week disclosed that the country would no longer go ahead with its Eurobond debt issue.
The Nigerian government, for now, is focusing on the domestic markets and concessionary loans to help fund the 2020 budget deficit which is made worse by drop in revenue. In the recently approved 2020 revised budget, the federal government is expected to borrow N850 billion from the domestic market.
This rising debt has put a lot of pressure on the government’s resources as it spent $1.69 billion (N609,13 billion) to service its domestic debt in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
Nairametrics had reported that Nigeria’s global rating is at risk due to the sharp rise in the country’s sovereign debt and a growing finance gap. According to a report from the global rating agency, Fitch Ratings, this could trigger a rating downgrade as policymakers struggle to stimulate growth and deal with the impact of low oil prices and sharp drop in revenue.
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According to Fitch, the country’s debt to revenue ration is set to deteriorate further to 538% by the end of 2020, from the 348% that it was a year earlier.
NBC slams N5 million fine on Nigeria Info over Mailafia’s inciting comments
This was contained in a press statement which was issued by NBC on Thursday.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5m on a radio station, Nigeria Info, over the recent claim by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia.
Mailafia, in an interview in one of the radio station’s programmes, claimed that some of the repentant Boko Haram militants confessed that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
This was contained in a press statement which was issued by NBC on Thursday, August 13, 2020, titled, ‘’The National Broadcasting Commission fines Nigeria Info 99.3 for Unprofessional Broadcast’’.
The NBC expressed its displeasure at the radio station for providing its platform to be used to promote unverifiable and inciting views that can lead to crime and public disorder.
The NBC’s statement reads, ”The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30 am and 9.00 am. The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.”
”The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.”
NBC noted that Dr Obadiah’s comments on the Southern Kaduna crisis, were devoid of facts and the broadcast of such by Nigeria Info 99.3 violates some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which include;
- No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain an offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;
- Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;
- The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;
- The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;
- The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;
- No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;
- The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
The NBC further states, ”Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only. This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide a platform for subversive rhetorics and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.”
The NBC also stated that it will not hesitate to suspend the license of broadcast stations that continue to breach to breach the broadcast code.
FG completes 11 projects to drive Digital Economy
The government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to diversify economic productivity.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy announced that it has completed 11 projects to drive its Digital Economy programme.
This was announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, during the phase 2 commissioning of Nigeria’s Digital Economy drive.
The Nigerian Government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to create growth and diversify economic productivity in the nation, starting with the Digital Economy drive which was added to the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications.
Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also approved the creation of a Digital Economy Department, which will be responsible for promoting the digital economic agenda of the federal government. The department will renew the commission’s strategy for delivering its programmes and policies, and give the necessary push to promote the national digital economy.
The projects were launched with the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would be operated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST ) and The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and would be located nationwide.
The 11 projects are:
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) llorin, Kwara State.
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) Calabar, Cross River State.
- School Knowledge Centre (SKC), Gombe State.
- Information Technology Innovation Centre, Kogi State.
- Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State.
- New Neighborhood Post Office, Delta State.
- Remodelled National Mail Exchange Centre, Bayelsa State.
- e-Health/Data Sharing Centre, Bauchi State.
- Virtual Examination Centre, Borno State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Jigawa State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Imo State.
Over 5 million Nigerians apply for N-Power Batch C
The Minister assured Nigerians that transparency would be applied during the selection process.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development said a total of 5,042,001 Nigerians applied for the Batch C of N-Power. Applications commenced on the 26th of June and closed on the 9th of August.
This was announced by Halima Oyelade, a Special Assitant on Strategic Communication, in a statement released Tuesday night. The Ministry said that the application date was meant to close on the 26th of July, but was extended by two weeks to enable those who were unable to apply to do so.
The Backstory: Nairametrics reported in June that the Federal Government announced the reopening of the application portal of the social investment scheme for fresh registration of the June 2020 Batch C intakes.
We also reported that as at last month, the Federal Government said that it had received 4.48 million applications from beneficiaries for the Batch C of the programme within the first 2 weeks.
The Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, assured Nigerians in the statement that transparency and due diligence would be applied during the selection process to ensure that the qualified applicants are selected.
“The Honorable Minister further added that the N-Power program is aimed to provide the Nigerian youths with opportunities to gain skills for employability and entrepreneurship which will also go along way in assisting the country towards the post-Covid 19 economic recovery,” she said.
She added that the Ministry would comply with the administration’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years and the N-Power scheme would be one of the means to do so as women and persons with disabilities would be prioritized in the selection.