Tag Archives: debt

Nigeria’s Debts: Atiku tackles Buhari


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described as shocking the revelation that Nigeria spent 99 per cent of its revenue to service debt in the first quarter of 2020 under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement entitled “Nigeria In Financial Crisis: Robbing Our Children to Pay for Our Greed”, the former vice-president said Nigerians should not be deceived because debt servicing does not equate to debt repayment.

“The reality is that Nigeria is paying only the minimum payment to cover our interest charges. The principal remains untouched and is possibly growing”.


“Nothing has shocked me in my entire life in public service as the revelation from Nigeria’s First Quarter 2020 financial reports in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, which shows, alarmingly, that whereas Nigeria spent a total sum of N943.12 billion in debt servicing, the Federal Government’s retained revenue for the same period were only N950.56 billion.

“We are at a precipice. If our revenue figures do not go up, and go up quickly, Nigeria risks a situation where our revenue cannot even sustain our debt servicing obligations. Meaning that we may become insolvent, and our creditors may foreclose on us, as has occurred in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.


“As part of an administration that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt, I am concerned by the alarming and avoidable unprecedented increase in our debt to GDP ratio and debt to revenue ratio. The alarm I sounded last year is now sounding louder.

According to him, one of the measures that could help push Nigeria from this financial precipice, is for the country to sell the planes in the presidential fleet and also cut off wasteful spending.


“As a matter of utmost urgency and importance, I call on the Federal Government to take immediate steps to drastically reduce its expenditure, especially on wasteful projects, such as maintenance of the Presidential Air Fleet, and unnecessary renovations of buildings that could serve as is, limousine fleet for top government officials, overseas travels and treatments, and the N4.6 billion Presidential villa maintenance budget, etc.

“We cannot be on the verge of economic ruin, while still maintaining a Presidential Air Fleet that has more planes than the Presidential fleets of those from whom we take these loans. Our debt to revenue ratio paints a much more realistic portrait of our financial situation, especially as our revenues are majorly tied to a mono product, oil and gas, which are very vulnerable to global shocks,” he added.



Nigeria’s debt may hit N30tr before 2020 ends.

If Nigeria succeeds in borrowing the proposed $6.9bn from international lenders including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development bank to help counteract the impact of coronavirus on the economy, the country’s debt stock may hit N30 trillion before the end of 2020.

Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed had on Monday, said the government will ask for $3.4bn from the IMF, $2.5bn from the World Bank and another $1bn from the African Development Bank (AfDB), an amount totalling N2.48 trillion (N360/$1).

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the nation’s total public debts, consisting of external and domestic debts, stands at N27.4 trillion as at 31st December 2019.

Rating agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and S&P Global had earlier downgraded Nigeria’s ratings, with the latest of them Fitch, downgrading the country’s ratings to sovereign credit rating (long-term, foreign currency) by one notch from B+ to B, and maintained the negative outlook.

According to the agencies, Nigeria faces the crashing oil price and the coronavirus pandemic with limited, and shrinking external buffers.

Fitch’s numbers rest upon average oil prices of US$35/b this year and US$45/b in 2021, and the CBN’s “continued reluctance to adjust the exchange rate”.

According to the members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), the growing national debt is a cause for concern as the profile has grown from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N27.4 trillion at the end of 2019.

With oil prices trading below the 2020 budget benchmark, they noted that in the 2020 budget, debt service commitment and recurrent spending were beginning to crowd out capital expenditure, adding that the trajectory was not consistent with the country’s national aspiration to build infrastructure and a competitive economy.

The debt portfolio comprising state and federal debt stocks were N9.02 trillion or 31.55 per cent of the debt was external while N18.37 trillion or 67.07 per cent of the debt was domestic.

Lagos state accounted for 10.82 per cent of the total domestic debt stock, the highest while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.71 per cent to the total domestic debt stock.

According to the report, Nigeria’s total public debt portfolio as of December 31, 2019, total external debt was N9.02 trillion ($27.67 billion) with a percentage of 32.93.

Break down showed that federal government debt instrument accounted for N7.53 trillion ($23.11 billion) with a percentage of 27.50, states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) accounted for N1.48 trillion ($12.59 billion) with a percentage of 5.43.

A further breakdown of the NBS report showed that total domestic debt stood at $56.37 billion at N18.37 trillion with a percentage of 67.07.

Federal government domestic debt stood atN14.27 trillion ( $43.78 billion) with a percentage of 52.09, with states and FCT contributing N4.10 trillion ( $12.59 billion) with a percentage of 14.99.

The report showed that the total public debt is the addition of external and domestic debt instruments for the year 2019, which was N27.40 trillion ($84.05 billion).

This accounted for 100 per cent of both domestic and external debt instruments for the entire 2019.


NDIC handed victory in N1.4bn debt recovery case

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Thursday said it secured a judgment against Jolimair Nigeria Limited and three other debtors who owed the defunct Gulf Bank Plc the sum of N1.4 billion.

The corporation achieved the feat in its capacity as official liquidator of financial
institutions in Nigeria.

In a debt recovery suit Number: FHC/L/CS/1328/17 – NDIC (Gulf Bank) vs. Jolimair Nigeria Limited & three others, the NDIC prayed the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos for the recovery jointly and severally from the respondents of the total debt sum of N1,494,987,317.44.

The amount was due and payable by Jolimair Nigeria Limited to the Gulf Bank
(in-liquidation) as at 16th January, 2006 when the defunct bank’s operating licence was revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The amount was in respect of the banking facilities granted by the bank in-liquidation and guaranteed by three other respondents in the suit; Joseph Samir Karkar, Abbas Shour and Patrick Sule Uduka.

When the matter came up for judgment on 31st January, 2020, the presiding Judge, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba
granted the reliefs sought by the NDIC in respect of the N1.4bn debt. The judge
said the respondents failed to tender any documents before the court to prove
that their indebtedness to the bank in-liquidation had been settled, adding
that people like them were responsible for the failure of the bank.

The court also agreed with the NDIC that the Respondents owed interest on the total debt sum calculated from the 16th January 2006 at the rate of 21 per cent per annum until the whole debt was fully liquidated, in addition to a cost of N500,000.00 awarded against the Respondents.

NDIC, in exercise of its power as the liquidator of Gulf Bank (in-liquidation)
instituted the debt recovery case against Jolimair Nigeria Limited in 2017, under the Failed Banks Act to recover the outstanding sum of N1,494,987,317.44
owed to the closed bank by the respondents.


Irregular payments of benefits causing outstanding accrued liabilities – PenCom blames

…Inadequate NIMC personnel affecting ECRS compliance

The National Pension Commission (PenCom), has said outstanding payment of accrued pension liabilities by the Federal Government to the retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), have resulted to delayed and irregular payments of retirement benefits its employees who retired from December 2018 to date.

According to the Commission, under the CPS, retirement benefits consist of Accrued Pension Rights (APR) for past services rendered prior to the commencement of the repealed Pension Reform Act 2004, the monthly Pension Contributions, and investment income accumulated from the commencement of the CPS in 2004.

Specifically, the Acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said the delay in payment of the accrued rights creates a gap that hinders the consolidation of all components of the retirement benefits, which in turn translates into delayed payment of pension after retirement.

Speaking with The Guardian, she said President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Budget Office of the Federation to include the sums of N12.83 billion, N25 billion, and N25 billion in the budgets of 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively to settle the outstanding accrued pension rights of FGN employees.

She said Buhari also directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to ensure that funds are fully released accordingly, and adequate provisions are made subsequently in the annual appropriation for payments of accrued pension rights, and funds released upon approval of Budget.

Meanwhile, Dahir-Umar said the failure of most of the treasury funded Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to submit their updated nominal roll on time to the Commission, has also affected the timely remittance of monthly pension contributions into their workers’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).

Her words: “All treasury funded MDAs that are yet to migrate to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), are required to submit their updated nominal roll twice a year, in January and July, to the Commission.

“The nominal roll facilitates accurate computation of monthly pension contributions of each employee before remittances are made to their respective RSAs. However, most of the MDAs do not submit their updated nominal roll on time to the Commission and this has affected the timely remittance of monthly pension contributions into the RSAs of some FGN employees.”

In his remarks, Executive Director, Premium Pension Ltd., Kabir Tijjani, said operators were aware of a pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari sometime in 2018, saying the government would make funds available to clear pension arrears, including accrued rights within the next few years.

Accordingly, the number of retirees that could not access their benefits in the form of accrued rights has been substantially reduced.He said: “There are still arrears left yet unpaid, but it is not as bad as it was in the past three to five years ago. There is a remarkable improvement, and what is now outstanding is no longer much. We hope that by the end of this year, or going into next year, all arrears in terms of the accrued right would be cleared.”
Meanwhile, Tijjani, said the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which is saddled with the responsibility of issuing National Identification Number (NIN), does not have adequate personnel and presence to attend to the numerous Nigerians that are seeking to get the NIN.

He maintained that it is still a challenge for people to acquire their NIN, which would enable them to enrol for the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS), but expressed the hope for a positive change going forward.

“We got assurances from NIMC that the government is making an effort to fund the agency adequately starting from this year, so that they would be having a number of outlets where Nigerians can go easily and register, but as it is right now, it is still a challenge.

“We don’t expect slow growth as such, but looking at it historically from the time PenCom made it mandatory for people to have NIN before enrolment, the number of enrolment declined, but gradually it is increasing,” he said.On the code of corporate governance, he said it would strengthen corporate governance and how businesses are conducted, risk management, ensure the safety of the pension fund under management, and would also promote good practices among all operators in the industry.


Gotel Debts: Atiku owe me as well – John Chiahemen

John Chiahemen, the man former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar accused of disappearing with the N150m meant for the operation of his GOTEL media and pay foreign consultants, has now rebutted the accusation comprehensively.

He described it all as false and libellous, replete with misinformation and misrepresentations.

Chiahemen who is now based in South Africa accused the Atiku Media office of misrepresentation and misinformation in its earlier statement regarding wages owed GOTEL expatriates.

He said he never bolted away and explained the circumstances of his departure from the company. And in a stunning disclosure, he said Atiku is also owing him months of unpaid wages.

“Contrary to the publication, I did not ‘bolt and refuse to make myself available to account for the [alleged] huge resources put in my charge’. I was away on sick leave. The Chairman of the Board was notified of my trip and acknowledged my notification. In my absence, a Board meeting was held in Yola during which I was unceremoniously removed, and an acting Managing Director named to take over. The assertion that I had bolted is totally false and malicious as key Board members knew exactly where I was and were in written and telephone communication with me throughout”.

He said funds for the media company were never at any time in his custody but with the financial controller or group financial director of the company.

“The allegation that funds meant for the payment of salaries of both local and expatriates staff of Gotel were made available to me is not only false but also malicious. To be clear, funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff were not in my custody. The Group Financial Controller was the paymaster in all matters of funds relating to the Gotel Africa Project. Payroll and operational funds were provided on a month-by-month basis, when they were, by the Financial Controller and my management merely disbursed them.

“The Financial Controller and the Company Secretary have made repeated promises to these former staff since mid-2015 that the arrears would be paid, and my physical presence has never been necessary to verify any payments. Indeed, I am in the same class as the other members of staff hired to launch Gotel Africa international news channel as I am also owed salary in arrears of several months”, he wrote.

Chiahemen also debunked claims that the FCID is investigating the matter.

“Relatedly, I am unaware of any petition written to the FCIID (Interpol) against me as I have not been invited by any law enforcement agency on any of the false allegations levelled against my person. All Gotel Africa Management’s financial transactions were made through the bank and the bank statements are available”.

Please read the full statement:


My attention has been drawn to a publication in The News/PM News and Sahara Reporters online news sites, both of January 16, 2020, captioned ‘On the matter of Gotel Expatriates’ (“the publication”). In the publication, Paul Ibe, the Media Adviser to Gotel’s Founder, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, made some false and libelous allegations against my person to which I am compelled to respond in order to correct the misrepresentations and misinformation contained therein.
In the publication, it was alleged that I, John Chiahemen, was given a free hand by the founder and board of Gotel Communications Ltd and Gotel Africa Media Ltd (Gotel) to run the affairs of the companies, that requisite resources, as requested by me were made available; that by 2016, there were concerns that the Chiahemen management was only long in promises and short in performance, prompting the then board to empanel an adhoc visitation committee to examine the state of the company and that the findings of that committee were damning.
It was further alleged in the publication that the visitation committee recommended the need for a comprehensive audit of the company; that the audit revealed serious fiduciary infractions by the Chiahemen led management; that further to the audit report, a board meeting was convened to consider the auditor’s report; that before that meeting of the board, Mr. John Chiahemen bolted and has refused to make himself available to account for the huge resources put under his charge.
The publication also stated that “for the avoidance of doubt, the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiahemen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr. Chiahemen accordingly.”
The publication concluded by stating that on the 14th day of December 2016, a formal petition on alleged breach of trust, fraud and misappropriation of funds against me was filed at the FCIID (Interpol) for investigation and advised that I make myself available to give account of all monies allegedly put under my charge during my tenure as the MD/CEO of Gotel.
I wish to inform the general public that the allegations levelled against me in the said publication are false, malicious, and a carefully orchestrated attempt to tarnish my image. I am talking with my lawyers with a view to seeking appropriate legal redress against the authors of the publication but in the meantime, I have responded below to the specific allegations made against me in the said publication.

Funds meant for the payment of Gotel staff salaries (local and expatriate) were not made available to me.
1. In the publication it was alleged that “the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiahemen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr. Chiahemen accordingly.”
2. The allegation that funds meant for the payment of salaries of both local and expatriates staff of Gotel were made available to me is not only false but also malicious. For the record, I was not the Group Financial Director or Group Financial Controller of Gotel. To be clear, funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff were not in my custody. The Group Financial Controller was the paymaster in all matters of funds relating to the Gotel Africa Project. Payroll and operational funds were provided on a month-by-month basis, when they were, by the Financial Controller and my management merely disbursed them.
3. I am aware that prior to my unceremonious removal as the Managing Director, payment of salaries had become difficult since mid-2015, and the Group Financial Controller had informed management on several occasions that this was due to the downturn in Nigeria’s economy. Consequently, management did not renew contracts for international staff when they came to an end and others agreed to cut theirs short and leave by the end of 2015.
4. The Financial Controller and the Company Secretary have made repeated promises to these former staff since mid-2015 that the arrears would be paid, and my physical presence has never been necessary to verify any payments. Indeed, I am in the same class as the other members of staff hired to launch Gotel Africa international news channel as I am also owed salary in arrears of several months.
I am not aware of any audit report on my management neither was I ever questioned in connection with the purported audit
5. In relation to the purported audit committee report, let me state firstly, that the purported audit referred to in the Press Release, if it exists, was a vindictive charade carried out after my removal. I have not been presented with or asked to respond to any queries relating to any audit while it was in progress or thereafter. I am not privy to the content of the speculated audit report or called upon to render account.
6. As I have further explained below, the so-called visitation panel was a vindictive and scapegoating exercise that had nothing to do with Gotel Africa but with the break down and rot of equipment at the Yola station over the years before the arrival of my management team.

7. Contrary to the publication, I did not ‘bolt and refuse to make myself available to account for the [alleged] huge resources put in my charge’. I was away on sick leave. The Chairman of the Board was notified of my trip and acknowledged my notification. In my absence, a Board meeting was held in Yola during which I was unceremoniously removed, and an acting Managing Director named to take over. The assertion that I had bolted is totally false and malicious as key Board members knew exactly where I was and were in written and telephone communication with me throughout.
I am not aware of any petition against me written to the FCIID or to any other law enforcement agency
8. Relatedly, I am unaware of any petition written to the FCIID (Interpol) against me as I have not been invited by any law enforcement agency on any of the false allegations levelled against my person. All Gotel Africa Management’s financial transactions were made through the bank and the bank statements are available. Required funds to float the buildup of the international TV network for which international professionals were hired were never released by the Group Financial Controller even when approved by the Board of Directors and the Founder.
9. To emphasize “funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff “were not in my custody. All the former international staff, including myself, received a statement of salary arrears from the Company Secretary long after I had left Gotel.
Gotel management under me performed well within the resources that we had. The management under me was not “… long in promises and short in performance…” as alleged
10. The allegation that there were concerns that the Gotel management under me was “only long in promises and short in performance” is a wrong projection of my management team, as it is on record that we successfully put Gotel on international satellite with footprint across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Western Europe before the license deadline of May 20, 2015. We turned a local station in Yola into a national channel via the DTT platform of CONSAT, and Gotel could for the first time, be watched in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and other major cities. The Founder’s residence in Abuja was the first live connection in Abuja. The NBC also included Gotel on its trial national digital service from Jos that was due to be extended to Abuja. All these services have been shut down because key satellite carriers cut Gotel off for non- payment of platform fees.
11. All the achievements of my management were in spite of the lack of proper project funding. My management submitted a detailed project plan for the rollout of the 24- hour international channel in Abuja and refurbishment of the provincial station in Yola, with costs and implementation timelines, in November 2013. This was approved by the Board the same month and the author of the Press Release was a member of the Board. No funds were ever released for the proposal despite repeated pleas and delegations by the management and the Board to the Founder. This fact is verifiable from Gotel’s

bank statements which show that the project for the rollout of the international station and refurbishment of Yola was not funded. My management’s revenue forecasts were conditioned to project funding.
12. The poor state of the facilities at the Yola station was an inherited condition from previous management and repeated requests by my management team for funds for the repairs and maintenance were ignored. The so-called visitation panel was a vindictive and scapegoating exercise that had nothing to do with Gotel Africa but with the break down and rot of equipment at the Yola station over the years before the arrival of my management team. My Management’s proposals with costs for repairing the equipment were not funded. A key member of the so-called visitation panel was the previous Chief Executive of Gotel under whose management the equipment had been neglected. He had been summarily removed as Chief Executive only to be appointed to the Board.
13. This misrepresentation and falsehood contained have been propagated by Gotel as far back as 2016 and it has caused serious damage to my profession, reputation, character and solid reputation as a renowned and veteran international journalist with a track record spanning more than 40 years. I have held editorial management roles with Reuters, running bigger budgets and multicultural staff.
14. In view of the foregoing, I would like to inform the general public that the publication was part of an orchestrated campaign of calumny dating back to 2016 aimed at damaging my hard-earned professional and personal reputation, character and to bring me into public odium, obloquy, infamy, scandal, scorn and contempt. While I am taking legal advice from my lawyers with a view to seeking appropriate legal redress against the publishers of the defamatory material, I would urge the general public, family, friends and well-wishers to disregard same.
John N. Chiahemen International Media Professional January 21, 2020


Group blast Atiku over owing foreign workers

Former Vice President and the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has been pilloried by the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) after reports that he was owing workers, local and foreign.

“Atiku’s failure to honour his agreement and pay these media contractors is just one straw in hay of his bad characters. It is also not the first time that he is in the news for failing to honour agreements with his staff, and not paying their salaries and allowances”, the group said.

In its statement, BMO challenged Atiku to show integrity, honour and discipline in his contractual relationships, either with individuals, groups or corporate entities.

The group said recent disavowals of Atiku by the staff of his communication company and consultants hired from foreign media companies do not portray Atiku as a man of integrity.

In the statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that it was responding to the multitude of petitions by former staff of Atiku Abubakar who alleged that the former Vice President had engaged them for media jobs, flown some of them into the country, but refused to honour his agreement to pay them, owing them months of salaries and allowances, and leaving many of them in serious debt.

BMO said that Atiku’s breach of the agreement with the media agents who he had engaged through his firm GOTEL, was dishonourable, adding that this is least expected of a man who sought to be Nigeria’s President.

“This particular matter reflects on his lack of good principles and his lack of integrity. Atiku has by this established that he does not keep his words. Thankfully, the wisdom of a majority of Nigerians prevailed, the enormity of an Atiku presidency that would have brought this kind of character to governance has been jettisoned.”

“This particular matter reflects on his lack of good principles and his lack of integrity. Atiku has by this established that he does not keep his words. Thankfully, the wisdom of a majority of Nigerians prevailed, the enormity of an Atiku presidency that would have brought this kind of character to governance has been jettisoned.”

The Buhari Media Organization went further to state that the former Vice President was seeking to be President to use the government’s resources to pay for his numerous debts and failed obligations.

“One of the reasons Atiku sought to be President was to open the treasury to fund his growing debts, and also enrich his friends who had provided him liquidation during his political sojourn. He, in fact, had promised to sell the country’s NNPC to his friends.”

The group commended Nigerians for standing with President Buhari and voting him en-masse in the 2019 elections, stating that President Buhari was a man of his words who would not fail to honour his covenant with the Nigerian people.

“President Buhari has shown, time without number, that he is a man of his words. He is a man of honour. We can assure Nigerians that the President does not just mean well for the people, he is bent on delivering on his promises, which he is already doing.”


$2bn Tax debts against MTN cancelled

MTN Nigeria yesterday disclosed its legal counsel has received a letter dated January 8, 2020 from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) formally withdrawing his demand for N242,244,452,215.97 and USD$1, 283,610,357.86 alleged revenue indebtedness.

According to the company in a press statement sent to Saturday Sun and signed by Uto Ukpanah, MTN Company Secretary , the letter confirmed that following careful review and due consultation with relevant statutory agencies, the AGF has decided to refer the matter to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with a view to resolving contentious issues. MTN consequently said it will follow due court process to withdraw its legal action against the AGF and engage with the FIRS and NCS on the issues adding that MTN remains committed to conducting its business in accordance with applicable laws in Nigeria.

Expressing satisfaction at the development, MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman said “we are very pleased with the decision of the AGF and we commend him for his wisdom. We maintain our dedication to building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria and remain fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria.”

Recall that, the Attorney General Abubakar Malami had alleged that MTN owed taxes relating to the import of equipment and payments to foreign suppliers from 2007 to 2017.

MTN, which began operation in Nigeria in 2001, is the country’s largest operator with some 60 million subscribers.

The company last year settled a $1.5 billion fine levelled by the NCC for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers.


Breaking – Obasanjo says Buhari will get Nigeria into bankrupt

…over its desire for loans.

…lack competence and consistency.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned of an impending bankruptcy under the Buhari-led administration over its penchant for loans.

Speaking at the first edition of the Nigerian Story organised by the ‘Why I Am Alive’ campaign in Lagos on Friday December 27, Obasanjo warned that things might get worse in the country as 50% of its foreign earnings is allegedly being used to service debts. He added that Nigeria is closer to the prevalent situation in the 70’s and 80’s which plunged it alongside other African countries into unserviceable debts.

Though the former President admitted that it might not be totally wrong to take loans to finance growth and development, he however stated that such decisions ought to come with a high degree of discipline, responsibility and foresight.

Pointing out some projects including the Lagos light rail project which seem to have been abandoned after loans were taken to execute them, Obasanjo stated that the Nigerian government is notoriously deficient in serious and adequate discipline and most often lack competence and consistency.

He said;

“As at 2015, total external debt was about $10.32billion. In four years, our external debt grew to N24,947 trillion or $81.274 billion. To service this current level of indebtedness, we must commit at least 50 per cent of our foreign earnings, such a situation tells about an impending bankruptcy because no entity can survive while devoting 50 per cent of its revenue to debt servicing.

“In 2018, total debt servicing cost took over 60 per cent of government revenue. As if this is not bad enough, we are currently seeking to add another $29.6 billion loan to our already overburdened debt portfolio.

Olusegun Obasanjo & Moh’d Buhari

“Our current budget, out of which we are spending 25 per cent to service debt is not our total earnings, a lot of it is also borrowing. We are borrowing to service what we have borrowed and yet we are borrowing more.”

This is coming after President Buhari submitted a loan request of $29.6bn to the National Assembly. A similar request had been rejected by the 8th Senate under Bukola Saraki.


Atiku reacts to Buhari’s loan request from the Senate

..says it will ruin Nigerians future.

Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s $29.6 billion loan request claiming it would ruin the future of Nigerians.

Buhari had sought the approval of the senate for the loan saying oil earnings are no longer enough to meet the financial needs of the country.

On Monday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the loan request would be approved despite declining a similar request under hi 2016 with Bukola Saraki as President.

In an article yesterday, Atiku said alongside former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he worked to clear Nigeria’s foreign debt inherited from past administrations after the return of democracy in 1999. Atiku lamented the attempt by President Buhari to “plunge Nigeria into another debt” noting that the problem of Nigeria was not the lack of money, but that of leadership.

“The fact that Nigeria currently budgets more money for debt servicing (N2.7 trillion), than we do on capital expenditure (N2.4 trillion) is already an indicator that we have borrowed more money than we can afford to borrow. And the thing is that debt servicing is not debt repayment. Debt servicing just means that we are paying the barest minimum allowable by our creditors,” the article read.

“And while spending 50 per cent of our current revenue on debt servicing, this administration wants to take further loans of $29.6 billion! To say that this is irresponsible is itself an understatement.

“President Olusegun Obasanjo and I paid off this nation’s debt, and I will not stand idly by and watch while Nigeria is plunged into second slavery by those who only know how to reap where they have not sown.”

Atiku said the Buhari’s government can derive the loan it seeks to borrow without plunging the country into more debt, adding that what is required is “visionary leadership and business acumen”.

The former vice president said if the government could deploy Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO strategy to the NNPC the amount of loan in consideration will be derived and foreign direct investment will increase.

“But just last week, Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO, the most profitable company in the world, took that route and almost broke the global stock market with the most successful initial IPOs in world history. Ironically, Saudi Aramco raised $29.4 billion via this IPO. Just the amount this administration wants to borrow.

“That could have been Nigeria’s story, but for our failure of leadership. By reforming the NNPC, Nigeria can raise the $29.6 billion the Buhari regime wants to borrow, and we will raise the money without going into debt,” he said.

Atiku noted that Ghana and Rwanda are now attracting more foreign direct investment than Nigeria. He said the country’s problem is neither revenue, nor Nigerians, but a problem of leadership.

He also condemned the government’s plan to use part of the loan on the digitalisation of the Nigerian Television Authority and other similar projects.

Atiku called on Nigerian youth “to identify the Senator representing their senatorial zones and write to them, urging them to vote against this request.”

“I was part of a team that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt. I, therefore, cannot sit and watch an administration without vision squander our children’s future by taking and wasting loans that they do not even have the capacity to utilise properly.

“Our youth must have something better to inherit from us than unsustainable debt fuelled by insatiable greed. That is why I call on the Senate of the National Assembly to show loyalty to Nigeria and reconsider its decision with regards to approving Buhari’s $29.6 billion loan request” said Atiku.


Benin, Togo’s power supply set to be disconnected – FG.

…over $16m debts

The Federal Government has promised to disconnect Niger Republic and Togo’s power supply if they fail to pay their outstanding $16 million debts.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Usman Mohammed, who revealed that the initial debts were as high as $100 million.

“When I took over as MD TCN, both Benin and Togo owed Nigerian more than $100 million.

“They paid part of what they consumed and out of the debts, it is remaining only $14 million for Benin. Niger owes less than $2 million and we are not leaving them.”

He threatened to disconnect the neighbouring countries if they fail to adhere to the payment agreement.

“In fact, we will disconnect them as we disconnect people around here.

“Electricity is not charity; we cannot allow people to consume electricity and leave us like that, No.”

Mr. Mohammed stated that they have restricted their supply and are insisting that they pay all the outstanding before they connect and increase the power off-take.


Ah!!! Court Agree With AMCON To Seize Cedar Oil & Gas E&P LTD Over N29Bn Debt.

…Marion Apartment, Block 8, No. 4 & 5, Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island, consisting of 43 units of apartments.

Justice C.J Aneke of Federal High Court Lagos Division has granted an injunction against Cedar Oil & Gas E&P Ltd, mandating AMCON to take over assets of the firm over an indebtedness of N29billion.

“In compliance with the court order, AMCON has formally & successfully taken possession of all assets of Cedar Oil & Gas E&P Ltd promoted by Mr Olajide Omokore & others through Mr. Godwin Nwekoyo, the Receiver/Manager who also received protective orders from the court.

“The assets, which are now under AMCON include: Block A, No. 46 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, comprising of 26 flats; Plot 1236, River Niger Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja; as well as Marion Apartment, Block 8, No. 4 & 5, Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island, consisting of 43 units of apartments.”

“AMCON is also in possession of No. 33A, Cooper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State; No. 8, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State as well as Manson Apartments, No. 6, Gerrard Road, Lagos State comprising of 60 units of three-bedroom apartments“.

Justice Aneke gave the orders following failure of Cedar Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Limited as well as its directors, to pay AMCON their admitted sum of over N15billion out of the total outstanding indebtedness of N29billion owed to the recovery agency of government


Profile: Nigeria’s debt alarm – ADP Chairman, Sani states.

…The problems seem to be increasing

The National Chairman, Action Democratic Party (ADP), Yagbaji Sani, has raised alarm over Nigeria’s rising debt profile, which currently stands at N25.7 trillion, expressing worry that the Federal Government still intends to borrow an additional $30 billion purportedly to fund development projects.

Sani said that another round of borrowing by government should be strongly resisted, saying that the President “has failed to present a concrete repayment package to the National Assembly.”

Addressing reporters Friday in Abuja, the former presidential candidate said, “the debt profile of the country has become very alarming since the coming of President Buhari to office in 2015.

“According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s current foreign and domestic debts as of November 2019 have hit N25.7 trillion from N24.39 trillion.

“As alarming as this situation is,” Sani said, “the Buhari government is proposing to borrow an additional $30 billion dollars purportedly to fund development projects, even as he has failed to present a concrete repayment package to the National Assembly.

“The ADP wishes to express its ardent opposition to this attempt to plunge Nigeria further into debt by the Buhari government through excessive borrowing. Our fear is that the borrowed funds will be frittered away in wasteful spending that will not add any value to the nation and its people.”

The party chairman further added that the country’s economic and political challenges have overwhelmed the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) led by the President, who, he said, has lost the initiative to change the disturbing narrative.

“The current government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by President Muhammadu Buhari appears to have lost the initiative despite its pretentions. Poor economy, insecurity and many other vices have ravaged Nigeria in the last four years.

“The problems seem to be increasing amid other emerging crises that appear to have overwhelmed the current government,” Sani stated.


There is no justification for taking loans without investing in future generations – Atiku slammed Buhari.

Former Vice President of Nigeria and PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has slammed the Buhari administration over its penchant for loans.

Not sparing the President his scathing remarks, Mr Abubakar said: “As a businessman, the first lesson one learns in business is to shun taking loans except it is to expand the business; in addition, there is no justification for taking out loans to pay salaries while you are not investing in your future generation.”

He called on the Federal Government and the federating units to focus their energies on education as a key sector.

The former Vice president criticised the President over what he observed to be poor funding of the country’s education sector.

He maintained that the APC-led government’s low budgetary allocation to the education sector completely belies the Buhari’s government claims of intentions to defeat terrorism in a country with high levels of illiteracy.

Mr Atiku made this known at the annual Founders Day event hosted by American University of Nigeria at the weekend in Yola, Adamawa State.

Mr Atiku noted that Buhari’s less-than-ten per cent budgetary allocation to education was below the 15 percent minimum standard recommended for developing countries by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

“The reason why the country is experiencing insecurity is because of poverty, which is the product of illiteracy, and it is a cycle that the country can only break by educating the citizenry,” Atiku remarked.

“Investment in education will take Nigeria to the level of unprecedented development.”

The former Vice President described education as “a pathway to exit the dubious record of being the world’s headquarters of extreme poverty.”

He pointed out that Nigeria cannot grow if government fails to invest in education at all levels.

Mr Atiku regretted that the record of the past four years of budgetary allocation to the education sector by government indicates that developing the minds of Nigerians has not been its priority. He called on government at all levels to increase funding for education.


$9.6bn P&ID Debt: FG secures $200M variation order from UK court.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has announced that the Federal Government of Nigeria has succeeded in securing variation of the UK court order from cash payment of $200m security to issuing bank guarantee of the same amount.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant Media and Public Relation of the office; Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu on Friday.

Malami disclosed explained that the Federal Government appealed against the payment of $200m security component which was a condition for stay of execution of the judgment.

The Court on Thursday, November 28, granted the Federal Government’s request for variation of terms of the order seeking to provide bank guarantee in place of direct deposit.

“Our application for variation of the order was allowed and we are as a result not making cash deposit but posting a bank guarantee,” the Minister has said.

“We remain in control of our funds by the act of acceptance of the guarantee. The Government is not paying the $ 200m cash but positing a bank guarantee by the variation of the order.

“The advantage of the variation in the judgment from direct deposition of cash to posting of bank guarantee is that the money and its control resides in the Federal Government unlike when otherwise”.

“The success recorded so far in relation to the $200m security deposit is that the amount of money remain in our custody, and we are simply providing a document. It is only when our case did not success, which we never anticipate, then the court can order the withdrawal the amount as stated in bank guarantee”.

Malami said the Federal Government request the change in the method of paying the security deposit because it believes that the entire contract will be quashed on the basis of fraud.

The Minister reiterated commitment to vigorously pursue the case aiming at seeking to set aside the award of $9.6b and get the entire contract quashed.


We don’t want our country to be recolonized by creditors bank – Shehu sani speaks on $30bn loan requested by Buhari.

Shehu Sani, the Senator who represented Kaduna central senatorial district in the 8th senate has waded into controversy sparked by President Buhari’s resubmission of a $30bn loan request to Ahmed-led Senate after it was struck out by the Saraki-led senate.

President Buhari who resubmitted the loan request on Thursday November 28, said it was critical to the delivery of the government’s policies and programmes.

However in a statement released on Friday November 29, Shehu Sani defended the 8th senate’s decision to reject the $29.96 billion loan request from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former lawmaker from Kaduna state said Nigerian would have been ”recolonised by creditor banks” if they granted the request which will shoot up the country’s external debt to $52 billion.

“We turned down the FG loan request for $30 Billion to save Nigeria from sinking into the dark gully of a perpetual debt trap,” he said.

“We don’t want our country to be recolonized by creditor banks.

“With the current escalation of borrowing, we will be walking into debt slavery and move from landlords to tenants in our country,” he said.

“They will always tell you that even America is borrowing and I don’t know how rational is it to keep on borrowing because Another country is borrowing.

“If we keep listening to Bankers and contractors we will keep borrowing and burying ourselves and leave behind for our children a legacy of debt burden.

“Loans are not charities. Most of those encouraging more borrowing are parasitic consultants, commission agents, rents seeking fronts and contractors. We must be cautious.”


This loan will kill the country as there were no satisfactory repayment strategies – Senate reacts to Buhari’s External Loan Request Approval.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for re-consideration and approval of a 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan to enable him secure additional $30 billion loan to finance an estimated 39 infrastructure projects across the country has sparked concern about Nigeria’s rising debt profile.

Buhari’s borrowing request shut down by the eighth National Assembly was conveyed in separate letters to President of Senate Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives and read at plenary yesterday.

The president’s letter titled: “Request for the National Assembly to re-consider and approve the Federal Government’s 2016 and 2018 External Borrowing Plan” read in part: “Pursuant to section 21 and Section 27 of the Debt Management Office Establishment Act “I hereby request for resolution of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016 and 2018 external borrowing plan as well as relevant projects under this plan…

“The outstanding projects in the plan that were not approved by the legislature are nevertheless critical to the delivery of government policies and programmes relating to power, mining, roads agriculture, health, water and educational sectors.”

But Nigerians have raised concerns that the fresh external loan would further escalate the country’s loan stock. Some experts who spoke to Daily Sun, yesterday, urged the lawmakers to throw out request if they truly have the interest of Nigerians at heart.

According to them, approving the humongous loan was the quickest way to kill the country as there were no satisfactory repayment strategies on ground. They argued that for a country already boxed into a debt trap with over $82 billion debit, taking additional $30 billion credit was tantamount to committing suicide.

Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere, said for President Buhari to have made a request for $30 billion loan means he did not have the grasp of what simple governance entails.

“What does he need the money to do? This is a disaster. What manner of president is this? After introducing the Finance Bill to tax Nigerians more to raise more revenue now, he wants to borrow additional $30 billion. For what? If this is approved, Nigeria is gone to the dogs. $30 billion on top of the existing $82 billion we owe? When will we pay back? How do we pay back? He wants to pile up loans for generations to pay”, he said.

In his submission, Odilim Enwegbara, Developmental Economist, described the loan request as the height of insensitivity and crass demonstration of cluelessness.

“Let him (Buhari) show us the debt sustainability plan. What infrastructure is $30 billion going to be used for? How do we pay back? If he says he wants to build infrastructure, the bulk of it is domiciled in the states.

“Let the states come in here and arrange a PPP to address the infrastructure gaps we have. The Federal Government can’t continue borrowing money, and saying it’s addressing infrastructure, when what we are actually doing is borrowing money to enrich a lot of people close to government or in government.

“You can’t continue to accumulate debts we can’t pay. Government should allow restructuring so that regions can build their own infrastructure,” Enwegbara posited.

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) expressed its fears at the nation’s mounting debt burden with Buhari’s request for fresh US$30 billion loan.

Director-General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, said: “Figures released by the DMO earlier in the year showed that the Federal Government’s domestic debt profile rose to N15.814 trillion in September, 2018 from N15.629 trillion in June, 2018 (1.19 % increase). This figure becomes more worrisome when we look at the total public debt stock, comprising external and domestic debt of the FGN, the 36 states and the FCT hitting the US$73.208billion (N22.38 trillion) recorded in June, 2018. This bourgeoning debt profile calls for concern as our appetite for debt skyrockets.

“This trend, which is very disturbing, could have a negative effect on the developmental capacity of Nigeria despite government’s financial managers’ argument that the rate of increase is within a manageable limit. While the effect of the increasing debt may not be immediate in totality, it could be catastrophic in the long term with a chunk of revenue consumed by debt servicing to the detriment of infrastructural development. This, sadly, is the current reality as a chunk of the 2020 budget would be used for debt servicing rather than developmental projects. This trend is not sustainable and could harm the nation on the long term. We are only appealing that the government should not make it difficult for the incoming generation to survive,” he said.

He reasoned that Nigeria should be cautious of getting herself entangled in loans that she would not be able to repay like Kenya, Zimbabwe and others where China has started taking over their national Assets.

Also reacting the nation’s Organised Labour warned that Nigeria’s penchant for foreign loans may draw the country back economically.

President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi, said the administration preponderance for debt was taking the country’s fortune back to pre-Obasanjo’s administration.

But Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismark Rewane, said there was nothing wrong with borrowing as long as it was tied to projects that will impact the people.

The economist said if the projects were the ones that could be identified and will not lead to wastage, then the president was on the right course.

Rewane dispelled the believe that borrowing was bad, saying what they are used for should be the questions Nigerians should be asking and not faulting borrowings in itself.

“External borrowing is an integral part of financing plan for the current budget. What is important is to ensure that the subsequent spending is strictly infrastructure-focused. Borrowing should also be on concessionary terms to mitigate the burden of debt service,” he argued.

On September 29, 2019, the Dr Bukola Saraki-led shredded Buhari’s letter requesting a $30 billion loan to build new roads, investing in outdated power grids, boosting agriculture and other non-oil industries, and reducing the economy’s dependence on dwindling crude revenues. The Senators threw out the plan, without even dignifying it with a debate.

The loans, which cover a period of three years, included the sale of Eurobonds worth $4.5 billion and planned budget support of $3.5 billion.


Buhari demands review of 2016-2018 External borrowing plan…

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to review and approve the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan.

He made the request in letters forwarded to the Legislative and read on Thursday on the floors of both chambers of the National Assembly in Abuja.

In the letters, the President explained that the request was for specific outstanding projects under the 2016-2018 borrowing plan.

He explained that the Eighth National Assembly approved only a part of the External Borrowing request forwarded to it in September 2016.

This, according to President Buhari, stalled the Federal Government’s implementation of critical projects spanning across the mining, power, health, agricultural, water and educational sectors.

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, read the letter to lawmakers present in the Senate chamber.

The letter read: “Pursuant to Section 21 and 27 of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act, I hereby request for Resolutions of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan, as well as relevant projects under this plan.

“Specifically, the Senate is invited to note that: While I had transmitted the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan to the Eighth National Assembly in September 2016, this plan was not approved in its entirety by the Legislature, only the Federal Government’s Emergency projects for the North East, (Four (4) States’ projects and one (1) China Exam Bank Assisted Railway Modernisation Projects for Lagos – Ibadan Segment) we’re approved, out of a total of thirty-nine (39) projects.

“The Outstanding projects in the plan that were not approved by the Legislature are, nevertheless, critical to the delivery of the Government’s policies and programmes relating to power, mining, roads, agriculture, health, water and educational sectors.

“These outstanding projects are well advanced in terms of their preparation, consistent with the 2016 Debt Sustainability Analysis undertaken by the Debt Management Office and were approved by the Federal Executive Council in August 2016 under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.

“Accordingly, I have attached, for your kind consideration, relevant information from the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning the specific outstanding projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan for which legislative approval is currently sought.

“I have also directed the Minister to make herself available to provide any additional information or clarification which you may require to facilitate prompt approval of the outstanding projects under this plan.

In a related development, President Buhari in another letter addressed to the Senate President transmitted the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2019 to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.

The letter read: “Pursuant to Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby forward the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2019 for consideration and passage into law.

“The Senate may wish to note that, in this Bill, Section 26(5) of the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act has been amended to: Preserve the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation to approve the registration of Companies Limited by Guarantee: and Reflect the Ease of Doing Business principles in Executive Order No. 1 of 2017 on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment.”

Meanwhile, 10 bills sponsored by various members of the Senate were read for the first time.

Some of them are Marriage Act CAP M6 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, Federal Co-operative Colleges (Est, etc) Bill, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, Project Continuity Bill, and Federal Character Commission Act CAP F7 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill.

Others include Animal Disease Control Act CAP A17 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, Federal College of Education Toro, Bauchi State (Est, etc) Bill, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act 2003 (Amendment) Bill.


AGF Malami Demands $62.1 Billion From IOCs to settle debts..

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami has asked international oil companies (IOCs) to settle their unpaid arrears estimated at $62.1billion.

Malami said, since the signing of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act CAP D3 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as amended) 2019 for oil exploration in deep offshore and inland basis, the Federal Government was to get more shares of the oil revenue, which the IOCs did not pay.

He said the arrears of what the IOCs were yet to remit to the Federal Government was estimated, as at 2018, at $62,190,679,793.

In a statement Tuesday by his spokesman, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Malami said the matter was not about percentage to be given to the recovery agency, but of patriotic desire to get back to the country the revenue it deserves noting that the 5% was a reduction from what it used to be during the past administration.

Part of the statement reads: “The minister noted that the 5% propose success contingent fees was an unprecedented reduction from what it used to be.

“The 5% as a recovery fee is a product of innovation introduced by the Federal Government upon the assumption of office of the President Muhammadu Buhari as against 30% and above which was the traditional fee by the previous administration.

“The comparative basis is not the Lagos budget as the considerable parameter, but the amount due for the recovery which in the circumstance is approximately $62, 190, 679,793.00 as at December 2018.

“When you convert $62, 190,679, 793 billion dollars into naira it will give you an amount more than 20 trillion naira.

“By virtue of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the amount in question is more than enough for three year budget of the most populated African country; Federal Republic of Nigeria considering the 2020 budget of 10.3 trillion naira.”

Gwnadu added that Malami said it was not about the composition and who the recovery agents are, but the funds belonging to the Nigerian masses must be recovered for the government to carry out more development projects for the benefits of the teaming populace who brought the government into power and whose interest the Federal government stands firms to protect.

“Above all, volume of the fees payable to the recovery agents which in all cases is contingence upon recovery of has never been a subject of executive contention in this matter”.

“It does not accord with reason and logic for the Federal Government of Nigeria to overlook, forgo and condone loss of $64bn on account of meager 5% fee payable upon recovery.

Gwnadu recalled that three oil producing states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross River filed an action in the Supreme Court on 27th April, 2019 praying, among other things that “recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the plaintiffs”.

On 19th January, 2018, Trobell International (Nig) Ltd forwarded proposal to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation requesting to be engaged as an agent to recover diverted proceeds of the Governments of Nigeria due from the share of profit oil under the various Production Sharing Contracts made pursuant to sharing contract made pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act CAP D3 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Following the approval for Trobell International (Nig) Ltd to undertake the task on April 12th 2018, the company engaged the services of lawyers, engineers, financial experts and petroleum experts nominated by the three state governments.


Debt Attained: Nigeria’s Debt Profile Reach N25.7trn – Ms Patience Oniha…

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says that Nigerian’s total debt profile is N25.7 trillion. The Director- General of the office, Ms 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.

Oniha said that 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 country debt management problems of the country which led to the debt relief.

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

According to the directorgeneral, 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 Coun- cil and the National Assembly.

“We borrow from various sources, the multilaterals, the World Bank, Islamic Devel- opment Bank, the African Development Bank, China Exim and we also issue

products in the international market. Locally, we are also very active in domestic bor- rowing, we issue treasury bills, Federal Government treasure bonds,” she said.

Oniha said that 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, Rep. Wole Oke (PDP-Osun), said that it was important for parliament to have all the relevant informa- tion documented.

He said that the parliamentneeded additional facts and figures following the Min- ister of Finance revelations during 2020 budget defence that revenue generation was a challenge in the country.

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

Oke said that 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,” Oke said.