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Friday, June 7, 2013

Clarifying Nigeria's debt position - Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

A statement from the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
There has recently been a lot of misinformation and misconception in our public debate on debt. My goal in this article is to shed some light on the public debt, to clarify the real state of Nigeria’s debt position, and hopefully, provide a knowledge platform for constructive debate.
Let me say at the outset that no one in government is supportive of a Nigeria that returns to a high state of indebtedness. On a personal note, having gone through tremendous stress during the quest for Paris Club debt relief, I am committed to a Nigerian economy that is fiscally prudent, balances its books and remains at a low state of indebtedness.
To begin, Nigeria’s overall debt is comprised of external and domestic debts. The external debt is typically owed to foreign creditors such as multilateral agencies (for example, the Africa Development Bank, the World Bank, or the Islamic Development Bank), to bilateral sources (such as the China Exim Bank, the French Development Bank or the Japanese Aid Agency), or to private creditors such as investors in our Eurobonds. The domestic debt, however, is contracted within Nigerian borders, usually through bond issues which are then purchased by Nigerian banks, local pension funds, and other domestic and foreign investors. The resources raised typically go to help fund the budget or other domestic expenditures, such as infrastructure projects. We also have some contractor arrears, and other local liabilities which are normally handled through the budget.
Both federal and state governments borrow domestically and externally. However, no state government can borrow externally unless guaranteed by the Federal Government. Similarly, state governments’ domestic borrowing is subject to federal government analysis and confirmation – based on clear criteria and guidelines that a state can repay based on their monthly FAAC allocations and internally generated revenues (IGR).

As a nation, we have had a difficult history with debt. As such, no one can forget the challenging times we went through from 2003 to 2005 trying, in the end, successfully to get relief on our large external debt. Neither the government nor any Nigerian wants a repeat of the country’s past history of large debts. That is why the current President Goodluck Jonathan administration, the Legislature, the Ministry of Finance, and the Debt Management Office, are very focused on a conservative and prudent approach to managing the national debt. Our current approach balances Nigeria’s needs for investment in physical and human infrastructure with a strong policy to limit overall indebtedness in relation to our ability to pay. Above all, any debts incurred must go for directly productive purposes which yield results that Nigerians can see.

First the numbers:
a. In 2004, prior to the Paris Club debt relief, Nigeria’s overall debt stock was very high. External debt stood at US$35.9 billion while the stock of the domestic debt amounted to US$10.3 billion resulting in a total of about US$46.2 billion or 64.3% of GDP excluding contractor and pension arrears.

b. After the successful debt relief initiative, Nigeria’s stock of foreign debt declined dramatically. Indeed, in August 2006, when I left office, Nigeria’s foreign and domestic debts amounted to US$3.5 billion and US$13.8 billion respectively – a total of US$17.3 billion or 11.8% of GDP.
c. By August 2011, when I resumed for the second time as Finance Minister, the domestic debt stock had grown substantially to US$42.23 billion, while the external debt was still a modest US$5.67 billion. This implied a total debt stock of US$47.9 billion or 21% of GDP. Note that while the debt stock grew, our national income also grew so that debt to GDP ratio (the parameter used globally to measure a country’s debt sustainability) remains modest and manageable.
d. Thus, the key noticeable change in Nigeria’s indebtedness in recent years has been the growth of domestic debt. There were two main reasons which resulted in this outcome. First, the initial growth of the domestic debt stock was because the federal government wanted to deepen the domestic debt markets and generate a yield curve for Nigeria which ultimately could help our corporate bodies to access the capital markets and borrow funds at more affordable rates. The DMO through its work has been successful in doing this.
Nigerian corporates can now raise money at reasonable rates at home and abroad, helping them secure resources to invest in the economy. Secondly, however, domestic debt was also raised to finance increased budget expenditures including consumption. For example, in 2010, the 53% salary increase for civil servants was financed by raising domestic bonds. Borrowing for recurrent expenditure or consumption, as was the case here is a practice that is less than ideal and one that we should endeavour not to repeat. We must learn that domestic debt should be incurred sparingly at modest and manageable rates so that government is able to service it and pay back domestic creditors. Failure to do so would severely undermine the finances of our private and institutional creditors to the detriment of the economy.
It is with this background in mind that we have put in place several measures to limit and manage the national debt. There are a number of specific policies we have introduced in the current administration to slow down the increase in our overall debt stock.
a. First, we have brought expenditures and revenues much more in line, through a low fiscal deficit of 1.81% GDP, to reduce the need for domestic borrowing. For example, we reduced annual domestic borrowing from N852 billion in 2011, to N744 billion in 2012, and to N577 billion in 2013. Our objective is to reduce government’s domestic borrowing to below N500 billion in the 2014 budget.
b. Second, for the first time, we have paid down part of our domestic debt rather than rolling all of it over. Beginning in February 2013, we successfully retired N75 billion worth of maturing domestic bonds. And we will continue with this practice in the coming years.

c. Third, we have established a sinking fund with an initial capitalisation of N25 billion. This fund will enable the government to retire maturing bond obligations in the future.
d. Fourth, we are working increasingly with states to get a clearer picture of domestic debts acquired by state governments, thanks to the comprehensive review recently completed by the DMO. Our particular concern is that state governments limit borrowings in line with their incomes and put any borrowings made to work on specific projects and programmes that bring direct beneficial results to their citizens.
[Please find attached the Debt-to-GDP ratio of selected economies]

e. Fifth, instead of the previous practice of contracting foreign loans in an ad hoc manner, we have streamlined the process for federal and state governments and made it transparent through the Medium Term Rolling External Borrowing Plan, which is reviewed and approved by the National Assembly. This plan presents the anticipated loans to be contracted by the government over a three-year time window, so that we can target funds to priority projects, and also make trade-offs where necessary. Notice that this covers planned foreign borrowing by both the federal and state governments for projects that will yield results in infrastructure, education, health, etc. Most loans contracted are on concessional or very favourable terms. For example, many of the multilateral loans are at zero interests, 40-year maturity, and 10 years grace. Others are at less than three per cent rate of interest.
f. And finally, we have put forward a Medium-Term Debt Strategy with a mix of limited external and domestic borrowing that is appropriate for the economy.
But let me repeat that we shall never be complacent about our national debt. We need to be constantly vigilant to limit the amount of debt and create room for the private sector instead to borrow. As such, we need to stay focused on three main priorities.
First, we should continue to monitor our external borrowing and ensure that we do not slip back to our high indebtedness prior to the debt relief programme. As I mentioned earlier, the External Borrowing Plan, helps to address this concern by ensuring that we always have a comprehensive, transparent view of our foreign borrowing. As at now, our external indebtedness is low at $6.67 billion or about three per cent of GDP.
Second, we should closely continue to monitor and limit our domestic debt, and ensure that it stays within a prudent and conservative range. We should pay off debt that is due to the extent of our ability.

And third, we should also continue to closely monitor borrowing by states to ensure that the debt burdens of our state governments remain within manageable levels and that borrowings are applied to specific projects that yield results for citizens of the state. In that regard, we enjoin banks and other lenders to be careful and prudent when lending to ensure that this is done within the existing rules, regulations and guidelines.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said: “Information and knowledge are central to democracy – and they are the conditions for development.” That is precisely why I have gone to some length to throw light on the real facts and the real issues regarding our debt situation and what the federal government is doing to address them. We need to create the basis to have a healthy and constructive public conversation on this issue, not a distorted and partisan battle.

• Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please kindly summarise this Ish! No one wants to read this long ting. This ain't Sahara reporters.

ugo said...

Summary pls

★★PRINCE CHARMING™★★ said...

Ok, noted! What an epistle! Now can the government throw more light into developments on ground that we can see too?

Anonymous said...

So cares. Just put poilcies to redce corruption, improve power and improve infrastructure abeg. This is all grammar when poverty is still staring us in the face.

Anonymous said...

i trust libers sha i will understand tru dia comment ni.....see ya lerra

Anonymous said...

This woman keeps saying rubbish......

All this numbers does not make any sense if your cannot provide basic infract structure for the people

the police college is shit
the hospitals are bad

power is epileptic

the roads are bad

pipe borne water inadequate

pls she should shut up and listen to the next man

U

william morah said...

linda cant u see nigerian currency written all over her face.

Ebukah Nzeji said...

Father Lord!!!

Cuba Blaq said...

Talk talk talk talk nd talk, all BS
Dey borrow to enrich themselves and give us stupid numbers to confuse and convince us...
Whr's d development as a result of d borrowing, of what use were d funds if an average Nigerian cnt afford 3 square meals...
Abeggii okonjo drop us...tschew*

Anonymous said...

Madam minister, what is nigeria's debt to corruption ratio? Is nigeria borrowing to finance current expenditure? Who is going to bear the debt burden of nigeria? Just create jobs/environment cause so many want to work, are able but can not find jobs.By the way madam minister nigeria needs a GDP of double digits to grow this economy because of our population. Your job is a difficult one madam minister. Wish you the best of luck with africa's 2nd largest economy.
The good nigerian.

Anonymous said...

Not to nit pick...but why use different fonts and font sizes...copy and past??? Too wordy

Anonymous said...

As always, she presents a thorough analysis. But with all due respect, it's like comparing apples and oranges. Put simply, the development indices for many of the countries listed compared with their level of debt justifies the debt in the first place! Their level of national security (including social), education and infrastructure (roads, power, health) speaks volumes. With that in mind, Nigeria is, perhaps, decades away from attaining such levels and would probably end up with a debt to gdp ratio of 99% to catch up!

Anonymous said...

long story iweala,make una ogas @the top just clear those debts,cus if u guys dnt.....we'll just use your fucking heads for rituals,and pay...simple.by d way linda,i'm d first to comment,don't post this comment,and u'll recieve a very unexpected august visitor.cheers.

Anonymous said...

As always, she presents a thorough analysis. But with all due respect, it's like comparing apples and oranges. Put simply, the development indices for many of the countries listed compared with their level of debt justifies the debt in the first place! Their level of national security (including social), education and infrastructure (roads, power, health) speaks volumes. With that in mind, Nigeria is, perhaps, decades away from attaining such levels and would probably end up with a debt to gdp ratio of 900% to catch up!

Anonymous said...

Whaaa??????

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...........1st to comment

Anonymous said...

i lost every respect i had 4 dis woman during the fuel subsidy saga and i am willing to bet that 99% of whatever comes out of her mouth are lies... hmmm, she has probably gotten a degree in lyingology...

Hugo said...

This is great development. If I understand this piece correctly, it means our total debt stock is $11.43bn. When we also acknowledge the fact that our GDP has grown (it is evident in the improvement of the average Nigerians lifestyle) we can admit all in all that Nigeria as a country is moving forward. I was particularly struck with the point that we are borrowing to sustain recurrent expenditure, it is unfortunate but I must admit that this is one of the problems Nigeria would have to deal with at the moment (eg. payment of fuel subsidies), these would be addressed eventually but I implore the government to try and make it as painless as possible.

In all, I think Jonathan is doing a great job. i don't care if he returns in 2015 but I care that someone else don't come and ruin all this good work. So, Jonathan should be allowed to continue, although it must be done in a transparent and democratic way. I implore all youths, all Nigerians to look at this and try to understand the Man, the Problem and the Drive

Anonymous said...

Nice one finance minister, very detailed, easy to read.. This is how a good report should be presented...but am surprised not to see any comment from our youths on this headline, abi Linda no post their comments ni?...since i have not seen any comment on this Headline from our youths then it has just shown we have a long way to go in this country

somadina obi said...

After all the analysis,Is Nigeria still suffering the ignomity of debt?

Anonymous said...

Okonjo A̶̲̥̅̊nϑ Nigerian Economy sha ..........
Pls click HERE for hot entertainment gist

Anonymous said...

Story story,na today..?

Anonymous said...

Bla bla bla... I jus wonder hw d debt accrued in d first place cos despite dis huge debt, notin to show in terms of growth n developmnt of all d sectors of d nigerian economy. Oh i forgot, our leaders end up stealin dis borrowd monies, ooops! No wonder we kip goin backward as a country. Mscheew. #bitessugarcane

Anonymous said...

Thanks for shading light on the the state of Nigeria National Debt to the common Man. More grease to your Elbow

Anonymous said...

Thanks for informing us of the state of our National Debt. May GOD strength you as you continue to put in your best for our dear country Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for shading light on the the state of Nigeria National Debt to the common Man. More grease to your Elbow

Anonymous said...

This woman sabi use statistics to deceive us.

People are hungry on the streets of Nigeria, she's quoting Debt/GDP ratio for us.

Deceits upon deceits!!!

ASA said...

Very interesting article. More like an eye opener. it is important that she cleared the air with this information. Unfortunately laymen like me keep using the name of anonymous to criticize steps taking by any body of government without really understanding or knowing the details of it.
Information and knowledge are really important for us. Not everything should be criticized but many things should be learnt and studied.

Pheobe Rene said...

too much grammar. in a layman's language pls?

Humble Nigerian Parrot said...

THIS STATEMENT RELEASE IS DAMN TOO LONG,IS THERE NOT SOMETHING CALLED SUMMARY?

Anonymous said...

Abeg all dis one nah jargons!Madam ecomomy management, wuld u pls explain the reason 4billion naira was budgeted for the first lady's project.And yet all we hear u talk about is how we r wasting moni on subsidy and how we need to build infrastructure. Dis is first lady's project beta dan d subsidy govt is paying!

Anonymous said...

Dis ones are mad oo... Who will read dis long tin...mscheww... Smthing dat I can't benefit frm...ta!

Anonymous said...

Dear Iweala,We have too umch money and resources in this country,Nigeria shouldnt be oqing a dime!!!!!

Dental news said...

Mama finance,Nigeria is in debt and all of u have big houses in Abuja and outside Nigeria.God is the best of all judges and will do justice to you and us.

Philip Amiola said...

This is a well articulated piece. I wonder what the few complaints in the comment section are about. Why have some people chosen to be unnecessarily negative?

««BARBIE DOLL»» said...

I read d 1st 2 paragraphs b4 I srolled to check out pples comment...I wsnt disapointed, if it wz some gossip or entertainment buhaahaa it wnt be a long post 2 read *whew* we av a long way 2 go mhen...nd we youths be lyk "useless leaders" lyk if we were dere it wld be any beta...change can only happen 1st 4rm within b4 it cn be transferd to national.......

Ruby said...

Where is prince charming, prince jobless, bonario (or something like that) etc? Now important issue is posted but it seems to be too complicated for them to comprehend....hence the absence of their comments.
I'm waiting for you guys ooo.
#hug

Anonymous said...

I just smh at Nigerian youths. If the news was about Kim K now, we would have seen hundreds of comments. But a good analysis of the way forward for Nigeria financially, there is no reasonable debate from the youths. I bow for you people. Left to the likes of Kim K, US will not be where it is now. So for those that thrive on Kim K's gist and probably want to live her kind of life, you people are just a minus to this country.

Eze Chukwumereze said...

GEJ's one billion naira for feeding is one of the nation's debt problems, as well as the outrageous salaries the senators and legislators earn, why didn't she address that?

bee said...

Na only baba God fit save us

ojo adetayo said...

This is a remarkable feat. i think the hon min is doing great.

ojo adetayo said...

This is remarkable. i think the hon. min. is doing a great job

Teeteelahyo said...

Don't mind her. As if she wants Nigerians to write finance exam, she how she wrote her biography there in d name of explaining the state our debtedness. Abeg chop shit! We arnt seeing any unprovements in d std of living so do not bore is with this rubbish.

--Teeteelahyo--

Anonymous said...

Dis woman done carry her world bank grammer to scatter our head!Madam all dis means nothing to d common man on d street,to d jobless graduate,to d frustrated ple. Keep ur grammer for Jona all we want is to see results no every day talk talk abeg

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment about the corruption part, but read through and saw readers had already done enough justice to that. Its good to know that Nigerians are not sleeping. Everyday is for the thieves, One day for the owner. God is not man that HE should lie, HE will come with HIS judgement at the right time!

Anonymous said...

Is that all u can say?? Am sure you dint read JACK!...

Anonymous said...

D illetrates here are plenty I knew dey wud not understand nawa oo even me wey b science student I understand

Anonymous said...

Doctor or what did you call ur self, shut your mouth and focus with your share, we are not stupid as you think,i'm very calm watching your generation because you are paving deadly ways for them all, keep eating fund meant to survive the poor and needy in the name of power and politic thinking everyone i daft, but i'm smiling and shaking my head at your all that call your self oga at the top, the judgement of God might be slow but it will last on your generation for ever and get to know it, innocent bloods are asking God for vengeance.

Anonymous said...

U sef u read am?tschew

Anonymous said...

madam how many are still unemployed??..light nko..bad roads nko..claiming lives everyday tipper crushes some poor fellow..
That what we need to see some tangible progress not all this grammer..andn useless stats that don't put food on the table!!

Angela said...

From the comments... one cane easily tell the close to 95% did not bother reading the full report...smh

Anonymous said...

U won't expect 2read all dis. Ish obviously.. We r all fucked in dis country I swear..y is it dat is only dept dey made known 2 public.wot&wen dey spent d money only ends in d house of assembly..coward leaders..follow jawe @aytipsy1

MYRAYA SAYS said...

In other words???
MYRAYA

Anonymous said...

Nothing but voodoo economics.
The more you look, the more it seems you seeing something when there is nothing to be seen. It is nothing but an act of using numbers and economic jargons to confuse poor Nigerians.
The same minister who claimed removal of fuel subsidy would lower Maternal and Infant mortality in Nigeria.
After that they went and launched few buses in Abuja.
People then asked Jonathan: sir, your excellency, these few buses you just launched, are they for Abuja or the whole country? Jonathan looking dazed,confused and like a rain-beaten chicken as usual, looked towards our honorable minister of Finance and the minister said oh these buses, she then looked towards the buses and then said as you can see, the buses are few, so they are Abuja for now.

Me i guess it is only in Abuja we have pregnant Nigerians and Nigerian infants.

Wonders will never end in Nigeria, my beloved country.

Choosing between Boko Haram Buhari and Jonathan is fast becoming choosing between the devil and the deep Red Sea.

We are seriously in a deep shit as a nation.
Only God can save us from these people.
Olu.

Anonymous said...

Ewo ni gbogbo story wharay! Go straight to the point...are we in debt or not? When is the deadline??? Let us know! This is what US government won't try with Americans,stretching out facts to confuse the people! FOH!!!

Anonymous said...

Many Nigerians are lazy they can not read a page of an article,the same people are accusing her of having houses in Abuja and abroad...let me make it clear to them that Ngozi has been working with world bank before some of them were born...so hate her or love her,she will not be the one to put food on your table...Go out and work..

Anonymous said...

Hugo, you are definitely one of those ruining this country - campaigning for Jonathan on a blog. You Jonathonians are so fucking pathetic!

NOI only spewed out numbers that we don't understand and you are already claiming that your bastard president is doing a good job.

More than 80m people are living in abject poverty and you don't see anything wrong with that? 80m people - Jesus! Damn you all!!

No health care, roads are full if potholes (death traps), people are hungry, no power supply and your madam is trying to deceive us with gibberish like debt/GDP ratio. May you all rot in hell!!! Amen

Anonymous said...

Philips, it looks like you have a job where you currently earn a few - judging from your odd-looking tie.

People are hungry in this country. An article like this from NOI is just to cover up the fundamental issues on nigeria. After all the analysis, these are still facts:

- more than half of Nigerians are hungry
- our roads are death traps
- no healthcare
- people in government are all corrupt
- no power supply
- etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

The honourable minister is doing great???

Her tactic of using big buzz words is working. Words like debt/GDP ratio blah blah

Open your eyes you youths of nigeria. You are being fooled. After the long article, nigeria still remains poor, no power supply, no healthcare, no infrastructure, no schools, corruption in government.

So, how does her big big words change anything?

Anonymous said...

Choi! Dis woman no get neck again o.

odobo grace said...

What's all these personal macroeconomics presentation for? How does this bring about a delationary gap?
Madam, i know where u can reduce Nigeria's indeptedness from.
Ur pockets! Atleast, u and ur cohorts can shread a lot from ur salaries, incentives and fringe benefits. Then we will live in surplus!

»kruiza« said...

So she is expecting me to read thru all dat??, she could have abbreviated dat 'manuscript'... Was tired of readin after d 2nd paragraph

Anonymous said...

Madam, spare us. The West is broke and since you are their sworn mouthpiece, your job is to raise money to help clear their own debts. Pls tell me, wwhich country or nation of the world does not have debt? U make our debt seem like the most important thing. People like u have sold their fatherland to foreign interests cos u work only for them. I am really beginning to dislike you. IAI

Anonymous said...

This naija sha...smh seriously

Anonymous said...

@str8frmdahips says said..

Don't be silly..World and IMF is like working for the Civil Service albeit with very good perks..
And that money you have to account for..whereas the money she siphoned in 9ja is tax free..unaccounted for and under the counter..
9ja's poverty is not something you can cover up for every person doing okay u see aqnother in abject poverty which makes 80 million in abject poverty a very probable figure..simple street stats!!..
Sad..though 60 comments..if it were Kim K..or Anne Idibia we did see 200 commments!!

cross said...

wow its so sad that our youth cant make meaningful contribution and comments to salient national issues like this. From the comments have just read, most of us dont even understand jack of what this woman is saying...and i bet you these are graduates and undergraduates its a big shame...WHICH WAY NIGERIA?? All they want to comment to is lousy stories like "LINDA IS TRIPPING FOR JIM IYKE". I bet you even linda is a smart and intelligent girl her blog says it all....Please Linda i think you should share more on national(hardcore) news..Kudos fyne gal.

Anonymous said...

Y wud u believe dis rubbish from a woman dat paid ransome but denied till d truth came to light from d kidnappers themselves.Dis numbers just spewed out are another set of lies. D simple way to know dis is: wat has been d lot of Nigerians? Where r d infranstructures etc. And who we go even ask if her numbers r correct.Utter rubbish I must say.

Anonymous said...

Summary? Nigeria's got huge debts dassol!
Hehe @whr s bonario, bloglord, charming, anwuli oputa, etc no energy to read d boring ish? Lol... Dats hw dey'd kp deceiving Nigerians by bringing lengthy stories, bcs una tire/ lazy 2read, dey'd kp on with the deception!
~D great anonymous!

orlabyC said...

*Yawnnnssss* na sleep sure pass now

Anonymous said...

53% salary increament for civil servant since 2010 which is yet to implemented in some quaters! wicked people God will judge them all.

Anonymous said...

Madam Ngozi is my role model. Keep working hard for ur country. One day, Nigeria wil appreciate u, pray it's soonest though, as dey only appreciate wen one dies.

missy said...

Hahaha!iswear,ure crazy!lol..