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Nigeria borrowed N7.71 trillion not N24.33 trillion in Q1 2024 – DMO 

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has clarified that Nigeria’s fresh borrowing was N7.71 trillion in the first quarter of 2024. 

The fresh borrowing includes N2.81 trillion as part of the new domestic borrowing of N6.06 trillion provided in the 2024 Appropriation Act and N4.90 trillion as part of the securitization of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances approved by the National Assembly. 

According to a press statement titled “Explaining the Q1 2024 Public Debt Data,”, the DMO noted that the N24.33 trillion increase in the total debt was a result of a combination of fresh borrowing and naira devaluation. 

32.39% naira depreciation 

The DMO noted that the exchange rate shifted from N899.39/$1 in Q4 2023 to N1,330.26/$1 in Q1 2024. This is a depreciation of 32.39%, which caused the naira value of external debt to rise sharply despite the actual dollar-denominated debt remaining relatively stable. 

In Q1 2024, the total public debt in naira terms stood at N121.67 trillion, up from N97.34 trillion in Q4 2023. The DMO clarified that while the total external debt stock remained almost flat in dollar terms, the naira value surged due to the devaluation. 

Since about N7.71 trillion was fresh borrowing, it means that about N16.62 trillion increase in total debt was due to naira devaluation. 

This N16.62 trillion increase, combined with new domestic borrowing of N7.71 trillion, accounts for the total spike in Nigeria’s public debt stock. 

The DMO stressed the importance of understanding these dynamics and the impact of economic reforms on debt and service costs. 

The statement read: Returning to the trend in the Total Debt Data between Q4, 2023, and Q1, 2024, the increase in Naira Terms of N24.33 trillion is being misinterpreted as New Borrowing. The amount actually represents New Borrowing of N2.81 trillion as part of the New Domestic Borrowing of N6.06 trillion provided in the 2024 Appropriation Act, New Domestic Borrowing of N4.90 trillion as part of the securitization of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances approved by the National Assembly, as well as, the depreciation in the official Naira Exchange Rate from USD/899.39 in Q4, 2023 to USD/N1,330.26 in Q1, 2024. 

Consequently, whereas, the Total External Debt Stock was relatively flat at USD42.50 billion and USD42.12 billion in Q4, 2023, and Q1, 2024 respectively, the Naira values were significantly different at N38.22 trillion and N56.02 trillion respectively, representing a difference of N17.8 trillion. This explains the perceived sharp increase of N24.33 trillion in the Total Debt Stock in Q1, 2024. The difference in the Exchange Rate for the two (2) periods also explains why in US Dollar Terms, the Total Debt Stock actually declined in Q1, 2024 (USD91.46 billion) when compared to Q4, 2023 (USD97.34 billion). 

The debt agency also noted that efforts to attract foreign exchange inflows are expected to bolster external reserves and support the naira exchange rate, mitigating some of these effects in the future.  

What you should know 

The Debt Management Office (DMO) earlier announced that the nation’s total public debt has increased significantly to N121.67 trillion (approximately $91.46 billion) as of March 31, 2024.

  • This figure encompasses the combined domestic and external debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), the thirty-six state governments, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).   
  • Nairametrics observed that the increase in total debt is driven majorly by naira devaluation, as the total debt was reduced in dollar terms by $16.77 billion or 18.34%  
  • The DMO’s Director General, Patience Oniha, earlier stated that the federal government raised N4.5 trillion out of the N6 trillion target in the 2024 budget.   
  • She noted that domestic securities remain a major source of federal government spending.  

Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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